Care to Take a Stroll on the River Thames?
Chris Johnson in London River Park, Open Spaces, Planning & Urban Design, Sustainability, Urban Planning

Update: May 13, 2011
Asset managers Venus Group of Singapore has agreed to finance Gensler's London River Park design, which won the Mayor’s award for ‘Planning Excellence’ at the 2010 London Planning Awards. “The sheer beauty and design brilliance of this structure will provide yet another amazing and unique attraction for the capital,” said the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.


Gensler's Plan for London River Park Wins Best Conceptual Project at Planning Excellence Award

It’s an accepted fact that the population of London will continue to grow over the next 20 years.

In the fallout of a global economic meltdown, London’s position as the powerhouse of the UK’s economy is more relevant now than ever; essential for driving investment and growth.

The more successful an urban conurbation, the greater the migration towards it - London’s like a giant magnet.

Planning for this growth – making the right decision now – is essential to London’s future. And it’s one of the reasons for the annual London Planning Awards, which took place this week to celebrate the contribution of professionals in the capital’s continued urban renaissance.

It was with great pleasure that Gensler picked up the award for Best Conceptual Project and the overall Planning Excellence Award for our proposed London River Park, at the event held at City Hall, London in the presence of Mayor Boris Johnson.

Our vision to create new public space along the north shore of the River Thames, providing the first continuous river-walk between Blackfriars and the Tower of London, was well received by the judges, whilst the Mayor of London called it an ‘ingenious proposal’, stating, “The brilliance of this design, apart from its sheer beauty, is that it will act as a fantastic catalyst for rejuvenating the Thames as a major transport artery.”

Over the last 40 years the Thames has witnessed a dramatic renaissance, after its post-industrial decline, being repositioned as the most important artery running through London with increased public accessibility. Yet, there remain important stretches along the river which are underutilised.

As the Millennium Bridge transformed the pedestrian accessibility between Tate Modern on the Southbank and St Paul’s Cathedral on the north side and reinforced the regeneration of Southwark, the River Park will revitalise one of the most important historic river frontages adjacent to the City of London.

The icon will provide an exceptional vantage point to explore London whilst acting as a theatre for a programme of changeable events, gardens, and educational features.

The floating ‘city’ annex will create a truly innovative and memorable experience for both residents and visitors of London, located at the heart of the city’s vibrant, evolving, and cultural capital.

Why did we develop this idea? Well, in heavily built cities the need for open space provision needs to be addressed and why not creatively? As an active player within the construction industry, it is our responsibility to show and drive the commitment to improve the quality of life in our cities.

Chris Johnson is Managing Principal of Gensler for the UK, Europe and the Gulf Region and a member of Gensler’s Board of Directors. An award-winning architect, he is the creative force behind flagship projects such as the new GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) and The Gate in Dubai, home to the Dubai Stock Exchange. Contact him at
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