The Tide – Running Track
Phase One: The Tide
Futurecity was appointed to identify, develop and deliver a range of strategic projects and partnerships to help build a cultural identity for Greenwich Peninsula – a new 150-acre mixed use district with 15,000 new homes and £500m to be spent on public places and social spaces.
The Peninsula 5 Kilometre Running Track (The Tide) concept reimagined Greenwich Peninsula’s public realm as a monumental, elevated, artist-designed sculptural ribbon for runners, walkers and cyclists. Visible from the air, it entwines Greenwich Peninsula, bringing together its vast but disconnected and developing landscape.
The subsequent plans by Knight Dragon display a route that consists of a floating minimalist glass walkway that connects five ‘islands,’ each hosting an elevated garden and supported by sculptural steel columns. The islands feature street food, cafes, a sundeck, integrated seating (part fixed, part moveable) and create small pergola-like enclosures within the landscape below them.
The full route will be created over four phases, with completion likely to take place in 10-15 years’ time. Once complete, the route will weave through the different features of the development, including Peninsula Square, Peninsula Place, the Design District, the expanded Central Park, the Meridian Quays district and wrap around much of the Thames path.
PREMIER CONSTRUCTION MAGAZINE spoke to Matt Dearlove, Head of Design at Knight Dragon about Phase One of the project, which opened in July 2019.
Can you give us some details about the scale of the development?
“The Tide’s first phase is comprised of 28 unique sculptural supports. They cluster together to form tripod-like structures that support the elevated gardens and walkways above while creating canopies for shelter and reflected illumination at the plaza level. The islands are connected by prefabricated steel bridges forming a continuous 2.4m wide path which spans up to 26 metres. Every support and bridge composes of welded plate steel inner ribs and outer skirts forming an aircraft wing-like structure that is lightweight and minimises impact to the London Underground station box directly below. The custom structures were fabricated by Cimolai in Italy, shipped directly from shop to site via the Thames River and bolted together in days.”
Are there any design features of particular interest?
“The streel structures and bridge sections of the elevated portion have to navigate through existing TFL infrastructure above a complex network of services in the ground; this lends to the development of their form. The narrow street footings fan out to accommodate the pedestrian platforms and planting areas, including trees. The stems that land also carry all the drainage, power and cabling.”
What facilities will The Tide house?
“The Tide features monumental artworks and design curiosities for the public to explore along the route. Referencing the surrounding water, Damien Hirst’s two sculptures Hydra & Kali and Mermaid from Treasures are the first arrivals on The Tide. Distinguished Pop artist, Allen Jones, was commissioned to create a site-specific piece of artwork inspired by the context of The Tide. Morag Myerscough has created a boldly coloured installation that illuminates The Tide’s arches with her signature super-graphic, and architectural duo Heather Peak and Ivan Morison of Studio Morison have created London’s longest outdoor picnic table which is situated directly on the riverfront.”
“From walking, running, meditating, cycling and picnicking, the Tide is designed for Londoners short on space and craving peace of mind. The Tide Clubhouse provides an exercise studio, juice bar and showers and towels for runners, whilst audio meditation points by BeBox along the route offer guided meditations that respond to the immediate natural surroundings, allowing visitors to tap in and tailor the use of The Tide for their own personal mental wellbeing.”
“The Tide is surrounded by informal dining options, from the family run Mama Fuego providing quality organic produce, in-house bakery, distillery, ‘gastro-pub’ and all-day brunch menu in a sunken lounge around a cosy fire pit, to Ardoa, the latest concept from the Vinothec Compass Team, offering high-end cuisine with small plates from the Basque region. Finally, Executive Chef, Gary Robinson, is spearheading The Market Table, a new dining and deli concept.”
What does it mean to you to be involved in this project?
“It’s wonderful to work on a project unique to London that the general public will be able to enjoy and that delivers such an important public space and legacy for the Peninsula and the city. It’s a statement of the creative approach that we bring to projects here and the quality of design that we want to nurture and embed into the Peninsular as a whole.”