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  3. 'London As It Could Be Now': Reconnecting Londoners with the Tidal Thames

'London As It Could Be Now': Reconnecting Londoners with the Tidal Thames

'London As It Could Be Now': Reconnecting Londoners with the Tidal Thames
'London As It Could Be Now': Reconnecting Londoners with the Tidal Thames, The Thames Baths Project. Image © Studio Octopi / Civic Engineers / Jonathan Cook Landscape
The Thames Baths Project. Image © Studio Octopi / Civic Engineers / Jonathan Cook Landscape

Five proposals for reconnecting Londoners with the River Thames have gone on display at London's Royal Academy of Arts (RA). The competition, organised by the Architecture Foundation, "launched an open call for multidisciplinary design teams to put forward new ideas and visions for self-selected sites along the Tidal Thames" earlier this year. The five selected teams were shortlisted earlier this year and recently discussed their designs at a public design workshop. The schemes are now being exhibited as part of the Richard Rogers RA: Inside Out exhibition. 

Read extracts of the proposals after the break...

River Beds / Carl Turner Architects and The Edible Bus Stop

River Beds. Image © Carl Turner Architects / The Edible Bus Stop
River Beds. Image © Carl Turner Architects / The Edible Bus Stop

"Our team will be investigating the South Bank of the Thames between Battersea Park and Vauxhall Bridge. We are looking for opportunities on the ground to up-scale the idea of guerrilla gardening and hopefully make a new green route between these two landmarks. The ‘green’ will be about growing food and we will see what connections can be made with local communities to support these new public spaces."

"Our aim is to creative active public space, managed by local communities. We would also like to see if it’s possible to stitch back the residential areas North of Nine Elms with the river. Industry and transport have created a huge disconnect between people and this part of the river."

River Rooms 2113 - a necklace of public spaces to grace the Thames / David Kohn Architects

River Rooms 2113. Image © David Kohn Architects
River Rooms 2113. Image © David Kohn Architects

"London’s future growth depends on creating vibrant public spaces that are accessible to all, well-connected by transport, surrounded by excellent housing and amenities at appropriate densities. Where will these opportunities co-exist in the coming century? River Rooms 2113 is a proposal for a necklace of public rooms at the scale of the city at existing and proposed River Boat piers along the Thames."

"The Mayor of London’s 2013 River Action Plan seeks to increase passenger journeys from 6 to 12 million a year by 2020 which could continue to rise, becoming a preferred choice of Londoners and tourists. By 2113, River Rooms could present a new way of understanding London whilst reconnecting local communities to their river frontage."

FloodPlain / Neil Cummings and 51% Studios

FloodPlain. Image © Neil Cummings / 51% Studios
FloodPlain. Image © Neil Cummings / 51% Studios

"#floodplain is an online platform that enables users to make collaborative, spatial representations of London, its main river artery, the Thames, and their floodplains. Using vast pools of open–access public data the #floodplain site re-imagines the tidal Thames for the 21stcentury, suggesting new ways to map, imagine, and inhabit London, its sites and their architectures."

"#floodplain is a new kind of public space, that will enable users to become architects of their own environment."

Lubricity / The Eastern Reach

Lubricity. Image © The Eastern Reach
Lubricity. Image © The Eastern Reach

"The Eastern Reach will focus on the margin of east London, straddling the tidal Thames between Rainham and Grays. This is a place of everyday life unfolding in a horizontal patchwork of river, wetlands, settlements and industry. It is held together by a landscape of hard and soft infrastructures - of which the river is central."

"Our field of research includes an interrogation of the ecological and social processes that have formed this agricultural and infrastructural tidal zone. We will combine site-specific fieldwork and socio-spatial mapping with an open and innovative design approach."

The Thames Baths Project / Studio Octopi with Civic Engineers and Jonathan Cook Landscape

"In 1865 Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s London sewage system was opened. There are 57 overflows along the Thames and in 2012, 39m tonnes of sewage leaked into the River Thames. Thames Water are planning a ‘super sewer’ completing in 2023. This will remove 96% of the sewage currently entering the river."

"The improvements in water quality open the possibility for once again swimming in the tidal Thames. Focusing on two of the ‘super sewer’ vents, Blackfriars Bridge and King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore, we have developed floating and fixed bathing pools. Our proposals celebrate a newly found intimacy between the Londoner and their river."

Richard Rogers RA: Inside Out is exhibiting at Burlington Gardens until the 13 October 2013. You can read a review of the exhibition here.

References: Architecture Foundation, BDOnline

Cite: James Taylor. "'London As It Could Be Now': Reconnecting Londoners with the Tidal Thames" 07 Oct 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/434710/london-as-it-could-be-now-reconnecting-londoners-with-the-tidal-thames/> ISSN 0719-8884
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