Greenwich Peninsula is located in south-east London near Canary Wharf, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and is bound on three sides by a loop of the Thames River. A former industrial site with a rich history, it is an area quickly transforming. Although known mostly as the site of the O2 Arena today, it is an evolving community with plans for 15,000 new homes, a design district, and a large central park.
The Tide will be a 5-kilometre network of public spaces and gardens embedded into the daily rhythms of Greenwich Peninsula. Both an elevated and at-grade walkway, with programming split across both levels, The Tide activates spaces above and below to provide a layered network of recreation, culture, and wellness. The Tide will stitch together diverse ecosystems, emerging neighbourhoods, and distinct cultural institutions, connecting north to south, east to west, centre to periphery, and city to river. The Tide is both fast and slow. It is simultaneously a running track, a walking promenade, a series of quiet gardens, and a network of social and cultural hubs.
The Tide is conceived of as a series of elevated, landscaped islands where the public is invited to slow down, linger, and overlook the life of the Peninsula. Each island is distinct, defined by unique trees and planting, and by their surrounding views and sounds. These elevated gardens are designed as clusters of structural supports that create elevated planter beds, containing soil and channelling both gravity loads and water down to the ground. The sculptural structure supporting The Tide gardens above also frames and shelters the path below, creating arched pavilions that mark thresholds and passages at the ground level public realm.
The Tide’s material palette is comprised of a painted steel structure, glass balustrade, composite rice husk decking, hardwood benches, bonded metal trim, exposed concrete, stone pavers, and vegetation.
Structural Supports and Bridges
The Tide’s first phase is comprised of 28 unique structural supports. They cluster together to form tripod-like structures that support the elevated gardens and walkways above while creating canopies for shelter and reflected illumination at the plaza level. Systems for lighting, electrical distribution, data, and landscape (vegetation, soil, water supply and drainage) are integrated seamlessly into each structural support. The islands are connected by prefabricated steel bridges forming a continuous 2.4m wide path with spans up to 26 meters. Every support and bridge is composed of welded plate steel inner ribs and outer skins forming an aircraft wing-like structure that is lightweight and minimizes impact to the London Underground station box directly below. The custom structures were fabricated by Cimolai in Italy, shipped directly from shop to site via the Thames River, and bolted together in days. The design of the structural elements was a special architectural and structural collaboration with AKTII using parametric software to maximize material efficiency and minimize fabrication complexity. The result is an integrated architectural and structural expression without superfluous cladding.
The plantings along the first phase of The Tide adapts to the landscape of the local context that it passes through. The overall framework of tree planting has been optimized to create comfortable micro-climates that take wind studies into account. Phase I features clustered plantings of native birch and pine at both the ground and elevated level. Tree plantings along the waterfront consist predominantly of native waterside trees such as Alnus, Salix, and Poplar. Sweeps of groundcover, herbaceous plants, seasonal bulbs, and ornamental grasses enhance the Tide’s atmosphere with additional colour and texture.
A striped pattern marks the path of The Tide, emphasizing the tempo of movement between cultural and social destinations as an orientation and wayfinding tool. The continuous pattern is rendered in a thin layer of epoxy for elevated portions, while asphalt and granite Portuguese paving stones is used for the ground level.
Project: The Tide
Designers: Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Lead) in collaboration with Neiheiser Argyros
Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Ben Gilmartin (Partner-in-Charge), Elizabeth Diller, Charles Renfro, Ricardo Scofidio, Anthony Saby, Bryce Suite, Ning Hiransaroj, Alex Knezo, John Newman, Swarnabh Ghosh, Erioseto Hendranata
Neiheiser Argyros: Ryan Neiheiser (Partner-in-Charge), Xristina Argyros, Giorgio Piscitelli, Eleni Vagianou, Danae Haratsis, Nikolas von Schwabe, Athina Zafeiropoulou, Catarina de Almeida Brito, Thalia Chrousos, Chris Yuan, Kevin Larson
Owner: Knight Dragon
Landscape Designers: Gross. Max.
Structural Engineers (Elevated Portion): AKT II
Structural Engineers (Ground Level Portion): Arup
MEP, Lighting: AECOM
Accessibility Consultant: David Bonnett Associates
Cost Consultant: Gardiner and Theobold
Planning Consultant: NLP Planners
Principal Designer for Risk, Health and Safety: Stace
Transportation and Access Consultants: WSP
Steel Fabricator: Cimolai
Canopy and Seating Fabricator: Urban Street Design
Contractor (Elevated Portion): Mace
Contractor (Ground Level Portion): Maylim