If Only…There was a floating cultural pier on the Thames

Says Henry Smith of SHH

Says Henry Smith, Project Architect, SHH

The Thames is the seed to the formation of London as a settlement; it provides open space, dynamism in its tidal flow, a place defining barrier and historically a primary mode for transport. The power and mass of the Thames' water is most felt at its banks during high tide when the water is almost at arm’s reach. Our proposal provides an even more visceral experience of this with a floating river pier; a place for inhabiting the Thames on its surface. Piers are a quintessential element to British seaside towns, bridges that go nowhere and serve little utilitarian purpose; they provide an experience of being out at sea and looking back to shore. Our proposal looks to provide a new point of perspective to see London, an easily accessible floating pontoon that brings the inhabitants to the fluid level of the Thames.

London’s streets are a world-class environment for nurturing independent businesses into existence, the urban grain of small independently owned plots providing a stage to live and work alike. Our proposal works on floating plots that provide areas for relaxing in landscaping, taking refreshment and entertainment spaces. The intention is to provide the infrastructure for multiple parties to be involved; architects, designers, landscape designers, theatre workshops, food vendors, all could be involved in seasonally curating individual plots with key permanent elements designed through open competition. The resulting experience would be dynamic and responsive to cultural events.

By linking two bridges, parallel to the flow of the river, a new opportunity for navigating the river is born and in our proposed location, provides a dramatic new close up vista of the Palace of Westminster. Integral to the infrastructure would be a new section of dedicated cycle route providing an unparalleled experience of riding up or down the river.

Henry Smith, Project Architect

Henry Smith, Project Architect
As a senior project architect at SHH, Henry Smith is responsible for overseeing some of the practice's most complicated and challenging projects. During his 5 years with SHH he has led a wide range of projects from public pavilions to internationally acclaimed clients' private homes. www.shh.co.uk

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