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Architecture of Maida Vale and Little Venice inspires Olympic Village

PUBLISHED: 18:53 17 August 2012

Houses along Randolph Crescent in Maida Vale, which share a communal back garden

Houses along Randolph Crescent in Maida Vale, which share a communal back garden

Archant

The Victorian houses built in Maida Vale and Little Venice to cater for the emerging bourgeoisie after the Industrial Revolution are the inspiration for thousands of new homes built in the Olympic Village.

Maida Vale and Little Venice’s white stucco buildings, which tend to wrap round a private shared park at the back, were built during the 1860s to cater for the wealthy who wanted to feel as if they lived like the nobility – but could not afford their own parks and mansion houses.

It has become the inspiration for a 2,818-apartment development called East Village which is next to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in Stratford.

The apartments, which housed athletes from around the world during the London 2012 Games, are spread across 12 different blocks in one large park.

Each 250-flat block also has its own private courtyard garden that the ground-floor maisonettes back on to.

The front doors of the ground floor homes open on to the street.

The one big change is that while the Victorians built houses, the 21st century buildings will be a mix of maisonettes, flats and penthouses.

Alex Lifschutz, 60, is director of architecture practice Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands which was one of the 16 architecture practices involved in the design.

Mr Lifschutz, who lives in an apartment in Little Venice, said: “The homes in Maida Vale, Little Venice and Notting Hill were laid out by the Victorians. It was to do with creating the suburban ideal of having your own house with a garden.

“The new bourgeois society emerging from the Industrial Revolution wanted to have the appearance of the nobility.

“This was a way of imagining they had their own park – but it was actually shared.

“In the 21st century, we have accepted the fact that we are sharing gardens, and we are quite interested in the idea. We have taken the idea of sharing and seen it as a positive. It’s a very good way of sharing a precious resource – land.”

The apartments, an equal mix of private and affordable, were built by the government and sold last year to Qatari Diar Delancey and Triathlon Homes.

The development will re-open in 2013.

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