Kensington’s historic exhibition hall is about to get a facelift.
At 133 years old, you can’t blame Olympia London for trying to freshen things up. The huge Victorian exhibition space has hosted conventions, wedding shows, and travel expos for eons, and now they’re stepping confidently into the 21st century. Hammersmith & Fulham council have given the go-ahead to a £1 billion redevelopment plan, to turn the oft-unloved space into a world-leading venue once more.
Judging by the pictures, it will be quite the makeover. £1 billion buys you a lot of glass towers, sweeping curves, and a rooftop sky garden, if the artist’s impressions are anything to go by. The developers have unveiled a laundry list of new additions, including a 1500-seat theatre, a four-screen cinema, a performing arts venue, a jazz club-restaurant combo, and two hotels.
That’s on top of renovations to the four existing exhibition halls, and in addition to the rooftop branch of Pergola, which opened in the autumn. They’re also finding room for a load of office space, and a few more surrounding shops and restaurants, just for good measure.
Olympia is going to have some serious swag on their hands when this is all over, aren’t they? There’s no word on whether the completed space will prompt TfL to run a more regular District Line service to Kensington Olympia, but they’ve got a while to figure it out (and besides, they have bigger problems anyway). Olympia London have confirmed that work will begin next year, and they hope to open up the first sections by 2023, so we’ve got a while to wait before seeing it in action.