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Heatherwick floats Royal Docks vision

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[First look] Heatherwick Studio has drawn up plans to build new developments on reclaimed land in east London’s Royal Docks

The London Development Agency (LDA) appointed the practice to consider ways to ‘unify’ the area and rethink the waterfront.

However an LDA spokesperson said the project was not ‘an official vision’ for the 125 hectare Enterprize Zone area.

The agency’s director for land and development Stephen Kennard said: ‘The Royal Docks is London’s biggest remaining development opportunity and the London Development Agency and London Borough of Newham have world class ambitions for its growth.

‘Thomas Heatherwick has produced some stunning initial images that should capture the imagination and show how the Royal Docks regeneration can create a shared identity and illustrate the potential for their future.’

Heatherwick said: ‘As there have already been 76 master plans for the Royal Docks, our challenge was how to stop this one from also going on a shelf.

‘The priority was to break the tombstone linear nature of this deserted massive piece of water and bring life back to the water’s edge. We needed to provide the docks with an overarching identity while making a scheme that is easy for everyone to understand and implement.

‘Our proposal is to encroach on the water edges and construct a substantial proportion of the buildings over the water.’

Heatherwick plans to create a giant model on site to test the concept. He explained: ‘To make the masterplan as clear and unforgettable as possible, the idea is to make a giant 1:1 full scale 4km long masterplan sketch on site made from 648 sticks with lights to define the new edge for developers to erect their buildings to.’

Last month, the LDA announced a shortlist of three developers - St George, Chelsfield and DV4 - selected to work up proposals for the Royal Dock’s 20 hectare Silvertown Quay site.

Projects in the area include Pringle Brandon and Wilkinson Eyre’s £30 million Siemens pavilion visitor centre, which has now topped out, and a 1.1km cable car also designed by Wilkinson Eyre.

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