Down by the River Bank

Aug 1, 2018

Royal Wharf was the focus for Ballymore & Oxley’s event for the London Festival of Architecture this year.

On 26 June, Architects Mae, Serie Architects and Glenn Howells Architects explored what gives a place identity and why London is always being re-invented at a special London Festival of Architecture event at Royal Wharf. Royal Wharf, on the north bank of the Thames is steeped in history.

Part of the Royal Docks regeneration area and formerly Minoco Wharf, it was originally riverside marshes before becoming part of the world’s biggest port in the 19th century.

The development by Ballymore and Oxley will see the area transformed into a new community for approximately 10,000 residents. The first residents moved into their new homes in early 2017.

The event began with a tour of Royal Wharf led by Glenn Howells of Glenn Howells Architects followed by presentations by Alex Ely of Mae Architects and Chris Lee of Serie Architects. Each explained how understanding the history of the site and the wider context of London’s ‘great estates’ have shaped the architecture.

Mae’s building at Royal Wharf reflects the geology of the riverbank. The 14-storey building has a textured façade inspired by oyster shells discovered in the excavation of dock walls.

Tour for down by the River Bank event

In contrast, Serie Architects building references classical architecture and Nash terraces. Finally, Glenn Howells Architects has taken inspiration from both Docklands warehouses and the historic squares of east London.

The London Architecture Festival is an annual citywide event whose theme this year is ‘identity’.

The festival director Tamsie Thomson said “London is the best city on earth – made more so thanks to its gloriously maddening, diverse and eclectic character but what defines the city and therefore the identity of those who live in it?”

The tour ended at the Marketing Suite designed by HAL Architects an elegant, minimal box in dark metal and clear and frosted glass that offers sweeping views of Greenwich Peninsula and the Thames Barrier.