Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has unveiled a $1.25 billion project for the Greenwich Peninsula in east London. The distinctive design will accommodate decadence not commonly found in the area: an 80-foot-high waterfall, glass galleria, and a “winter garden/urban forest.” The amenities will be for visitors and residents of the 30-story (370 feet) building which will house living units, offices, a hotel, and retail.
Backed by developer Knight Dragon, Calatrava’s design is part of a wider initiative to transform the area. Covering 1.4 million square feet, the $10.5 billion scheme master planned by London-based Allies and Morrison will see a new tube and bus station, theater, cinema, performance venue, bars, shops, and a wellbeing hub added to the vicinity. 15,720 new homes will come too, along with a film studio, a new design district, schools, offices, health services, and public spaces.
A press release detailing the Greenwich Peninsula plan states that “the Peninsula is big, eclectic and original.” They’re not wrong. Seven “emerging neighborhoods” (developer-speak for areas primed for luxury housing) will be coalesced by the snaking River Thames with the now much-loved Richard Rogers and Mike Davies-designed Millenium Dome (a.k.a. O2 Arena) remaining as the area’s flagship architectural icon.
At first glance, Calatrava’s coterie of twisting architecture appears more at home among the luxury dwellings that populate the Miami shoreline. Indeed, it could be said that the project resembles Bjarke Ingels’ equally contorted towers in Miami’s Coconut Grove—a project that incidentally is akin to Calatrava’s own “Turning Torso” in Malmö, Sweden. The architect, though, in a press release said he was “inspired” by London’s “rich architectural heritage and the very special geography of the Peninsula,” and the work of Joseph Paxton and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Linking the three nodes of Calatrava’s structure will be a foot bridge that bears the gentle curvature of its surroundings. The bridge—which lays along the meridian line and depicts a sundial through its mast and cables–will take pedestrians to the Thames. “It is an honor to be designing such a piece of the fabric of London, a city I love,” Calatrava added.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan meanwhile, said:
I am delighted that Santiago Calatrava has chosen London for his first major project in the UK. This shows that London remains open to investment, trade and the very best talent from around the globe. This new landmark for London and the growth of this area of London will create a new cultural district for Londoners and visitors from around the world. I am also pleased to welcome Knight Dragon’s continued investment in Greenwich Peninsula, providing much-needed infrastructure, shops, offices, and new genuinely affordable homes for Londoners.