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Bid to save Foster interchange threatened by Calatrava’s Greenwich scheme

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The Twentieth Century Society has submitted a bid to list Foster + Partners’ North Greenwich Interchange in an attempt to save it from demolition

The 1998 interchange building is set to be demolished as part of Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava’s £1 billion proposal for London’s Greenwich Peninsula.

Calatrava’s 130,000m2 development – which will be his first project in London – involves replacing the Foster-designed arrival hall with a towering winter garden where visitors will emerge into a 24m-tall, 152m-long galleria of slender columns, forming an avenue supporting a glass canopy.

The development is set to be submitted for planning later this year with the hope of completing by 2023, but this could come unstuck if the listing application is successful.

The society submitted an application for the interchange building and the associated underground station – designed by Alsop, Lyall and Stormer – to be granted Grade II*-listed status.

Tess Pinto, conservation adviser at the society, commented: ‘The Jubilee Line Extension is a remarkable synthesis of architecture and engineering, and is the arguably the finest infrastructure built in London since the 1930s. Each station is a variation on a theme, and together they form a connected whole. Foster’s wavy bus interchange here is the icing on the cake. They are not only exceptional architecturally speaking, but they are totally fit for purpose and barely 20 years old. To lose them would be an incredible shame.

‘There isn’t much really good 20th century architecture in the area, and we feel very strongly that the best of what there is should be retained, and any new schemes should work around what is there.’

Greenwich Peninsula

Greenwich Peninsula

Source: Ben Blossom

Model of Calatrava’s scheme for Greenwich Peninsula

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Readers' comments (1)

  • In an age when conservation of resources is supposedly a major factor in new development, and 'eco-friendly' and 'sustainable' are popular buzz-words liberally applied to just about anything and everything that's built, the Greenwich peninsula stands as living proof of how hollow this philosophy can be.
    First an innovative Sainsbury's supermarket that won awards for sustainable design (and which was granted immunity from listing in defiance of the 20th Century Society) is flattened in favour of a new IKEA megastore - which is apparently going to be urban-friendly, more like Altona, Hamburg, than their other London stores.
    Seeing is believing, and now we have Calatrava jumping in with some 'look at me' stuff that appears top be part of a massive densification of urban development in the area - but to just who's benefit, I wonder?
    Calatrava deserves his reputation for innovative design, and is certainly capable of brilliant and sensitive intervention in transport interchange design in challenging urban locations - at Zurich Stadelhofen, for example.
    But in Greenwich these plans for destructive contempt of recent modern architecture of real quality seem to be matched by destructive contempt for existing small scale industrial and commercial activities - replaced by an 'out of town' (?) retail park stuffed with the usual suspects, with implications for extra road traffic generating atmospheric pollution that is only now being recognised as a major threat to human health.
    Greenwich Council's planning strategy - if you could call it that - seems to have been backed up by TfL support in the face of strong local suspicions that the IKEA development in particular will be a substantial traffic generator, and surely there's the suspicion that the less than pristine fingerprints of ex-mayor Boris Johnson are all over some of the more questionable decisions in this area.

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