New Practice

On Your Marks


On Your Marks

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre has been host to an impressive sporting heritage since it opened in 1964. Records were set. Medals were clinched. Legends were born.

Whilst most major events now take place at newer venues, built for the 2012 London Olympics, Crystal Palace National Sports Centre continues to play an important role. It is home to the London Youth Games, an annual triathlon, national championships, as well as school sports days and events for the local community.

The facilities of the Grade II Listed Centre have seen better days and change is needed to keep the Centre running.

In 2018 we began work for the Mayor of London, as part of a team of architects, designers, enthusiasts and specialists tasked with coming up with a plan for the future of the Centre.

Our first step was establishing that this project was different from consultations that had come before.

The Centre benefits from an active and engaged group of users and supporters, however a number of consultation processes had taken place in the near past, and there was a sense both of mistrust, and that this project too would not result in change.

We created the On Your Marks brand strategically - choosing a palette made up of colours found in the centre - and used playful sporting language to both galvanise the public into action and to spark an interest in the project.

We asked the Centre’s users to coach us - recognising their knowledge, expertise, and their personal desire to do the best for their community.

We held a series of workshop events, inviting people to share their insider knowledge and to help shape the brief for the team architects, Hawkins\Brown, to respond to.

We worked with an illustrator, Lizzie Abernethy, to create a mascot for the centre. Based on the architecture of the building, the mascot represented the efforts underway to get the Centre fit for the future.

Alongside engaging existing users of the Centre, we focussed our efforts upon capturing the attention of prospective future users. We wanted to capture the attention of local people who might not otherwise have had their voices heard.

We created a digital questionnaire which was promoted extensively online to people living and working within the local area, receiving over 1,500 responses.
The annual fireworks display at Crystal Palace Park draws tens of thousands of visitors.

We saw this as a perfect opportunity to do something spectacular.

Beam was a celebration of the past, present and future legacy of the Centre. We projected archival footage onto one of the buildings, along with calls to action to get involved in the project.
1 - Projection archive.jpg
The Community Conference was the final public event as part of the On Your Marks! engagement programme.

Held on Saturday 9th February, the event was created as a celebration of Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. The event showcased the developed design studies, building on previous consultation stages, and offering the public and Centre users an opportunity to understand how their feedback had shaped the project team’s development of a future proposal.

  • Client: Mayor of London

  • Location: London, UK

  • Completion: 2019

  • Collaborators: Hawkins\Brown, Kinnear Landscape Architecture, Mott MacDonald, Turley, Continuum