Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners is to masterplan the future development of the huge 1960s Thamesmead estate in east London
Appointed by progressive housing association Peabody, the practice has been asked to come up with a 15-year vision for the huge regeneration project.
Peabody has already committed £225million of additional funds for the ‘growth and development’ of the estate which featured in the film A Clockwork Orange and was a key focus of this year’s British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
The so-called Futures Plan is backed by project partners the Royal Borough of Greenwich, London Borough of Bexley, GLA, Transport for London, Tilfen Land and Trust Thamesmead.
The Peabody Group now owns much of the land in Thamesmead, which was built mostly on former marshland south of the River Thames, having incorporated the Gallions Housing Association, Trust Thamesmead and property investment company Tilfen Land.
According to Allies and Morrison’s specialist masterplanning arm, the vision will seek ‘to balance bold, game-changing moves with pragmatism and deliverability’ culminating in ‘an investment prospectus for the area, focusing on key sites and projects’.
Ken Baikie, director of Thamesmead Strategy at Peabody said: ‘Thamesmead is one of London’s major opportunity areas [and] …, we will capitalise on the significant new transport infrastructure coming to the area, and develop a persuasive prospectus to attract new investment and drive a thriving local economy.
Baikie added: ‘Starting now, we are investing in existing homes and neighbourhoods, making top quality design and extensive community engagement our top priority.’
However Sam Jacob of FAT Architecture, who co-curated this years’ British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, hoped the proposals for the modernist frontier land would not make the estate ‘like everywhere else.’
He said: ‘Thamesmead is a remarkable place - both for its history and its potential. With Peabody’s new role it is a really exciting moment, paring one of the most progressive housing groups with the scale and ambition that’s both latent and necessary in Thamesmead. My plea though would be not to normalise Thamesmead.’
He added: ‘Don’t knock off all its rough edges, don’t make it like everywhere else. There are trajectories embedded in the original conception and design by Robert Rig and the LC Architects - really sophisticated, careful and beautiful ideas - that should be used as a springboard into the future.
‘Thamesmead is a frontier, a special part of London where a really unique idea of place can evolve.’