Heatherwick Studio Reveals Expansive Glass Canopy for Olympia's Regeneration Project in London

Heatherwick Studio Reveals Expansive Glass Canopy for Olympia's Regeneration Project in London

Heatherwick Studio has unveiled the design of a new large-scale glass canopy to become one of the main attractions of Olympia, an ambitious regeneration project aimed at transforming the 138-year-old exhibition halls in London into a global culture and entertainment destination. Originally designed by Sir Henry Edward Coe, Olympia is set to offer visitors a wide range of venues and activities, including two hotels, over 30 restaurants, bars and eateries, a 4,400-capacity live music hall, a theater, and spaces for the Wetherby Performing Arts School, in addition to over 2.5 acres of accessible public spaces. The revival project is co-designed by Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC.

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Heatherwick Studio’s design for the monument aims to enhance the public experience, offering ample public and green spaces activated with a wide variety of bars and restaurants, in addition to an extensive roof garden pen for visitors and the local community.

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The glass canopy, one of the most distinctive features of the regeneration project, is designed to create a link between Olympia’s history and the new advancements in design and engineering. The canopy consists of five large curved structural steel arches, each with a span of 22 meters. The transparent roof is fitted with 520 rectangular low-iron glass panels, covering a surface of nearly 1000 square meters. The pleated glazing motif is a nod to the façade of the Grade II* listed Grand Hall.


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The canopy will also be visible from Hammersmith Road below, inviting passers-by to explore the extensive venue and encouraging a seamless connection with the street. At the mezzanine level, visitors can gain a perspective of the entire structure of the historic exhibition roofs. This new destination in London is expected to attract over 10 million visitors annually through a diverse program of cultural and entertainment opportunities.

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Olympia was once a people’s palace – a place to come together and experience unusual things. Having lost its way over the years, we’re now working to bring back its original spirit and make Olympia open and available to everyone. At the heart of this mission is the new central canopy. Influenced by the vaulted glass roofs of the original exhibition halls, the new canopy will be the beginning of a world-class public space that’s available to everyone, whether you’re attending a show at the new theatre, work in one of the nearby offices or are simply passing by. – Thomas Heatherwick, Founder of Heatherwick Studio

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Thomas Heatherwick has recently been appointed as the General Director and curator of the 2025 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, now in its fifth edition. His office, Heatherwick Studio, has also been recently announced as the winner of a global competition to design Seoul’s uninhabited Nodeul Island on the Han River, transforming it into a lively public park complete with spaces for musical performances and artistic interventions.

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