Newham's sunken treasure by the Thames
Thames Barrier Park, designed by Groupe Signes, Patel Taylor Architects and Arup is now open to the public. The 9ha park, in the London Borough of Newham, is on former industrial land on the north bank of the River Thames, just to the west of the barrier. Its dominant feature is a broad, sunken 'green dock' which cuts diagonally across the site, creating a microclimate for parallel strips of planting interspersed with paths. This dock begins with a grid of bubbling fountains and terminates at the water's edge, where a slatted canopy on slender columns serves as a Pavilion of Remembrance for Newham's war dead. A visitor centre, largely glazed on three sides, offers shelter in bad weather and expansive views to the south. In its plan, planting, architectural components and detailing, the park is far-removed from English municipal tradition and at last makes London a destination for anyone interested in contemporary landscape. The total cost was £13 million, including construction of the river wall and remedial works.