A while back (17/3/2013) I posted a blog about The Mayor of London’s ‘proposals’ to build floating developments on (or in) the water at The Royal Docks, East London.
I talked about the pros and cons; asked whether ‘we’ really needed to build in, or on, the vast area of water, and generally concluded that it is best not to build on the water unless this contributes substantially to Place-Making.
Well, since then I have come across proposals for The Royal Docks from Greysmith Associates which illustrates just the sort of Place-Making I was thinking of.
Greysmith Associates’ plans address the lack of North-South connections and does so in an imaginative way which softens the hard urban edges which currently dominate the area and are likely to in future developments.
I usually dislike marinas as, in my eyes, they just look like car-parks for boats with all the glamour and visual allure of a car-park. But Greysmith’s proposals look more like a Scandinavian island, with boats sliding through, and moored in inlets and coves amongst trees and greenary:
In summer, these islands could be full of people relaxing, and home to events and festivals.
And, if things change in the future, all of this is reversable as the islands are floating and can be dismantled.
If I were the Chinese owners and developers of Royal Docks I would be in touch with Greysmith Associates ( http://greysmithassociates.com/ ) straightaway and set up a meeting with them. This is the best idea for building in old docks, or on waterfront sites, which I have seen for a long time. A real example of good quality Place-Making and Public Realm.