The commission, secured through a financial and architectural competition, provides a building that is a world first for flexible exhibition space. It is able to host a number of exhibitions concurrently while allowing the build-up and break down of shows without impinging on visitors.

ExCeL hosted a number of events for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games including boxing, fencing, judo, table tennis, weight lifting and wrestling.

In March 2020, to provide additional Intensive Care hospital beds to cope with the anticipated number of victims of the Covid-19 pandemic, the building was temporarily converted to accommodate 4,000 bed spaces for a ‘Nightingale Hospital’.