Developers build 35-metre model of
controversial London River Park

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Dezeen Wire: developers seeking planning permission for a river park that will float on the Thames River in London have built a 1:100 scale model to test its impact on the river's flow.

The model was created by hydrodynamics specialists HR Wallingford and is the first accurate representation of the Thames riverbank to be constructed on this scale, including notable landmarks such as Blackfriars, London and Millennium Bridges and a replica of HMS Belfast.

The proposed design for the London River Park has divided opinion among architecture critics and residents but the developers hope to receive planning permission in order to complete the installation in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next June.

You can see some photos taken by Dezeen of the model on our Facebook page.

Here are some details about the development of the London River Park:


Progress soars ahead, as 1:100 scale model of London River Park is created for the first time

London, Tuesday 18th October 2011 - Developers of the London River Park, the forthcoming icon of the Thames which is being created to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, have created a 1:100 scale model of the structure and of the Thames River upon which it will float, in order to perform a series of due diligence examinations into the surrounding river flow.

London River Park will be the world’s first ever floating tidal river park and, as the most technically advanced structure of its kind, is being delivered by a world class British team of experts to mark one of the most important dates in British public consciousness – the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The model, which is 35 metres long and features all the major landmarks of the Thames - including Blackfriars, London and Millennium Bridges, is evidence that the Park will not affect river currents under or around the proposed site. The ‘miniature Thames’ even includes a replica HMS Belfast and ‘visiting’ cruise ship model, to allow for further checks and balances to be made on water displacement.

The scale model resides at HR Wallingford, Oxfordshire, and it is the first time ever that a model of this size and proportion has been made of the Thames riverbank, highlighting the ambition and scale of the project.

Londoners gave their backing for plans to create the first river park of its kind in the heart of the capital.   When asked at a public exhibition, 76% of people asked thought the river park plans were good or very good.

The London River Park, which is currently going through the planning process, will bring a whole new dimension to the river for Londoners and visitors to the capital. It will attract up to 3.5million new visitors a year to the river bank and is set to deliver a breathtaking new open space, right in the historic heart of the City.

The London River Park will be free to use and will add another chapter to the rich heritage of the Thames.  The London River Park will:

  • Provide a star attraction for visitors to London – creating easy connections between some of London’s top tourist destinations, including the Tower of London, Tate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Be great for the City of London – it will showcase the historic beauty of the City of London and bring people into the heart of the City, 7 days a week
  • Be great for Londoners – as well offering Londoners fantastic new cultural and educational spaces for Londoners to enjoy, the London River Park team will give 30% of all net revenue to good causes in the capital via the Greater London Authority

John Naylor, speaking on behalf of the London River Park team, said:

London is the most exciting city in the world, so where better to create this unique river park?  The London River Park will make the capital even more attractive to visitors and investors and it is clear that Londoners back these plans.  We’re overwhelmed by the level of support from Londoners.

With the backing of the City of London and GLA, we can make the floating river park a reality in time for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations next year.”

About the London River Park

The London River Park will be a world first and create a floating walkway along the north bank of the Thames in central London and a remarkable new space for people to enjoy.  The park will be in two core parts and:

1. The 420m western section will start to the east of Blackfriars Bridge and terminate to the east of Southwark Bridge.  It will house floating pavilions, trees and open space in front of the historic Queenhithe Docks.

2. The 540m eastern section will run from east of Cannon Street Rail Bridge to the east of Customs House by Tower Bridge.  As well as further floating pavilions, this element of the park will also include a new swimming pool that floats on the Thames and a new docking station for Thames passenger services.

The planning application is made by the London River Park Ltd and is funded by the Venus Asset Group of Singapore.

The London River Park was designed by global architects Gensler and built by a world class team including Mace – who built the London Eye and are building the Shard, the new river crossing Emirate's Air Line, and have delivered London's Olympic Park.

Plans for the river park were submitted to the City of London in July.  The planning authority is expected to determine the planning application later this year.

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Posted on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 at 8:00 am by Alyn Griffiths. See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • South Bank Residents

    This project began with the appealing notion – a riverside boardwalk that would bridge the gaps from the Tower of London to Embankment Gardens. It compared itself to New York’s ‘High Line’ – a project that retrieved and re-animated the urban landscape.
    The ‘High Line’ it is not. This project not only falls very far short of its original ambition, it also appropriates and exploits part of London’s river for private gain. The so-called ‘River Park’ is really a platform for commercial development, hiding behind the pretence of public interest.
    As a walkway, it duplicates much of what already exists. It doesn’t make the connections that would make a real difference. And its private commercial ‘pods’ will block the best views. It is a project that now fails in its own terms.
    It is supported mostly by those who stand to benefit: by the Mayor’s office, which, instead of looking to the river’s protection, prefers to take 30% of the profit; and by the developer and contractors, who want to earn as much as they can.
    In seeking a five-year approval, the protagonists claim it will be temporary. This alleged transience hides a black hole of omissions. Where is the management plan and the concern for the impact on local communities? Where is the conclusive evidence in relation to the environmental, archaeological or navigational impacts? And where is the necessary design sensitivity to the character of London’s historic artery and the appropriate (CABE describes it as ‘unimaginative and corporate’).
    The Thames’ significance to our capital is immeasurable and yet no single authority is charged with its protection. The only remaining defence against such a predatory development and the precedent it will set is the City of London’s Planning Committee.
    The Thames is too important to London to allow this to happen.