The London River Park

From “Open Space” to Planning Awards

Gensler initially conceived the London River Park plan in response to its research paper “Open Space: An Asset without a Champion.”

Subsequently, the firm submitted the project for the 2010 London Planning Awards, at which the concept garnered the Best Conceptual Project Award and the overall Planning Excellence Award. The vision for the park is to establish public space along the north bank of River Thames, providing the world’s first floating tidal river park.

A densely developed city, London is considering how best to accommodate the major civic events gracing its 2012 calendar. Drawing on the River Thames’ renaissance, Gensler has designed the London River Park plan as an urban public amenity that can help the city address its dearth of open space in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Summer Olympics celebrations.

Stretching a kilometer from Millennium Bridge to the Tower of London, the river park promises residents and tourists a new perspective on the historic city, while providing a platform to observe the dynamism of London’s ever-changing skyline.

A Capital Plan for the Capital City

The London River Park concept aims to enhance the city’s reputation as a preeminent world capital by opening a new walkable expanse along the Thames. By linking St Paul’s Cathedral to The Tower of London, Millennium Bridge, Tate Modern, and Thames Clipper services, the park offers an exciting addition to the city’s rapidly evolving riverfront.

The floating walkway is proposed to revitalize the civic assets of the Thames’ north bank, just as the South Bank experienced successful regeneration following investment in its riverside walk and adjacent attractions. Already a year in planning, the London River Park enjoys enthusiastic backing from London Mayor Boris Johnson and other key stakeholders.

Creating a Cultural Asset

The park is designed with a number of zones including a city walk, a river walk, small city squares for sitting and relaxing, and larger plazas for grander activities. The richly landscaped walkway will provide access to seven floating pavilions — built on huge barges — that highlight Britain’s history and cultural heritage. One pavilion will house a large event space, and another will be home to a new swimming pool, the first created on the Thames. It is anticipated that the other pavilions will host galleries and exhibitions and not be used for retail purposes. Design flexibility allows the park to change with the seasons and accommodate holiday celebrations throughout the year.

A New Star Attraction for London

Subject to City of London planning approval later this year, the park is slated to open in time for the 2012 London Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee festivities that will include a Thames flotilla of 1,000 boats on June 3.

Plans call for the temporary park structure to remain in place for five years. The planning application is made by the London River Park Ltd; and the project is funded by the Venus Asset Group of Singapore. Upon approval, the park will be built by a world-class team featuring Mace, builders of the London Eye, London Shard and London’s Olympic Park.

Enhancing London’s Reputation as a Preeminent Visitor Attraction

Gensler and its project partners are delighted to present a sneak peek inside the London River Park design. This animation previews the experience these four acres of public space will provide. Features include sweeping city views, abundant park benches, natural foliage and an open-air lido. Pavilion exhibitions featuring cultural and educational spaces will demonstrate London’s enduring creativity and vibrancy.

When opened, the park will introduce a new dimension to the River Thames for Londoners and capital visitors alike. With projections of 3.5 million visitors annually, the park is expected to become the latest attraction to present the capital’s world city standing in a bold and innovative way.

Story
Anna Robinson (Gensler—London): +44 (0)20 7093 9685
Leah Ray (Gensler Public Relations): +1 (312) 577-7133


Images
London River Park, Project Team: pages 1-5

Animation Production
VYONYX: page 6

Music
Oh No Oh My: page 6

For Your Consideration
Read the GenslerOn blog post "London doesn't need a floating park on the Thames, but would it benefit from one?" from Gensler—London's Ian Mulcahey

Additional Information
London River Park Website

GenslerOn Blog Post on London River Park

Gensler Research: “Open Space: An Asset without a Champion”

Gensler’s Planning + Urban Design Portfolio

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