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12th June 2014

On a bright and sunny day the CDFAS coach load arrived for a coffee stop at Woolwich Arsenal and Greenwich Heritage Centre before our first star attraction of the Emirates Airline Thames cable car which took us 100 metres above the Thames with marvellous views to Canary Wharf, through to the Shard and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The QE Olympic Park is the first royal park for 100 years and it must be hoped that the funding to sustain its early development does last.  We viewed the architectural masterpieces of the velodrome and the aquatics centre and could admire how this desolate and polluted landscape has been restored to a place of calm and leisure for the people of East London.

The main Olympic stadium is being converted for football use.  The park is in its early stages of planting and legacy layout, so a trip in about 10 years time would no doubt have many new contrasts.  The River Lea now features as the central thread through the park, which is being transformed from sporting complex to a mixture of sports, outdoor art, recreation and housing.

Our highlight was to travel up the lift of the ArcelorMittal Orbit to the viewing platforms (and internal distorting mirrors!).  The Orbit is a provocative sculpture designed to look as if it is falling over; and containing inward and outward views.  It is a remarkable design.

Again the views on a lovely day gave unique glimpses in one shot of St Pauls Cathedral, Post Office Tower and the new “Cheesegrater” in the old City as well as the Shard at London Bridge.

All in all this was a feast of big city architecture and urban regeneration planning.

Text by Stephen Dennison

Photos by John Wright and David Finnigan

Related Links (open in new window):

Firepower, The Museum of the Royal Artillery
Greenwich Heritage Centre
Emirates Airline Thames Cable Car
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
ArcelorMittal Orbit

Cranleigh DFAS members gather at the base of Anish Kapoor's astonishing construction