Along Stratford High Road near the entrance to the Olympic Park a dramatic new structure has sprung up. The ‘Strand East Tower’, designed by ARC-ML, is made up of 72 pieces of wood braced by 16 steel rings, and stands 40 metres tall. Once upon a time this would have been one of the highest objects on the skyline, but these days its dwarfed by the new tower blocks that are appearing along this particular stretch of the main road between Stratford and Bow. I can’t be the only one that looks at it and is reminded of an Olympic torch – I wonder whether that was their intention, given that it is sited just next to the Olympic Park itself.
I’m sure you’ll agree that it has a very handsome profile during the daytime, but it’s best seen at night – after dark it lights up with over 600 colour-changing LEDs. It’s quite a spectacular sight. The Strand East Tower sits on one corner of the new Strand East development which, would you believe, is owned by IKEA who are responsible for the new builds on this site (once occupied by Danes rather than Swedes). I wonder whether we’ll be seeing very Swedish design sensibilities in Stratford in the near future. That would make a pleasant change – hopefully Wallander won’t be coming along for the ride. You can find the Strand East Tower on the waterside just past the junction of Abbey Lane and the A11.