The Labyrinth

The original design intent for the transformation works at the Olympic Park South Park Plaza included the provision of the Water Labyrinth. Consisting of a serpentine series of 195 jets, the intent was to create a series of rooms using variable height flumes of water. Additionally, the original design intent called for the inclusion of a large buried tank located outside of the plant room, linked to the feature via a series of buried pipes. This offered significant challenges to the programme due to the size and timing of the excavation required.

So a re-work of the design to include a GRP channel running the full length of the serpentine feature, linked back to the plant room by a simplified pipework arrangement was put forward. In order that capacity was retained for the requisite water volumes and free board required, a re-designed of the plant room to incorporate the tanks internally was also presented. In parallel with the re-design, fully scaled working mock ups of the feature were constructed at our nursery in Kent during the pre-construction period to enable the client team to view various options on jets and lighting.

We re-visited the layout of The Labyrinth and through slight modification of its form, reduced the number of pre-cast moulds from 61 to 13, speeding up the production process of the pre-cast cover units significantly. Off-site fabrication of the feature channel commenced working to CAD layouts and a very tight programme. Our team cast the foundation on-site and the GRP troughs, in line with the programme, were installed and site fixed to co-ordinated positions ensuring the fit was correct.

The infrastructure pipework and ducting was laid out of sequence back to the Plant Room to bring power and telemetry to the pumps held within the channel,  enabling the area to be backfilled and handed over for surfacing.

A successful full load test on the water feature pumps was performed enabling the installation of the pre-cast concrete units that cover the channel and locate the nozzles, grilles and lights. Each pre-cast unit was mapped on CAD to precise casting sizes as the desire to have a seamless feature removed the opportunity to include tolerances by way of joints. This offered significant challenges in both the fabrication and installation of the units. However, these were overcome and the units were installed along with the pumps, lights, grilles and nozzles, whilst concurrently completing the Plant Room fit out.

On the first run of the feature each jet was  calibrated to a precise height ensuring that the display would appear balanced when run. Off-site programming of the DMX control system for the lighting was completed and testing on-site commenced with each light to ensure all connections were sound and the requisite four colour changes were working correctly. The water feature programmes were further developed and loaded into the system. The current status holds six programmes of varying water jet effects.