London – Santiago Calatrava unveiled the £1 billion project for London Greenwich peninsula along river Thames. Asian leading developers at Knights Dragon will build 1.4 billion sq ft project including a crown of towers, a new tube station, winter gardens and a performance venue. But harsh words and serious concerns arose as well.
The new landmark will become the gateway to London’s emerging cultural district in Greenwich Peninsula. Residents and visitors will arrive from the tube into an 25m high winter garden and glass galleria. The scheme will include a new tube and bus station, theatre, cinema and performance venue, bars, shops and a wellbeing hub.
Above the project, three towers of workspaces, apartments and hotels will rise next to Roger’s millennium dome. A stunning new land bridge suspended from a curving mast shaped like a scorpion’s tail will connect the scheme to the Thames.
“It is an honour to be designing such a piece of the fabric of London, a city I love. In designing this scheme, I have been inspired by London’s rich architectural heritage and the very special geography of the Peninsula.” Says Santiago Calatrava.
London mayor Sadiq Khan blessed the Spanish architect’s project in South East London: “The new development shows that the British Capital remains open to investment, trade and the very best talent from around the globe”.
“That is one way to look at it” writes on The Guardian Olly Wainwright. “The other is that this project represents a total lack of imagination, the product of a newly isolated country that is desperately limping along, trying to catch up with the rest of the world, happy to take their sloppy seconds and willing to chase overseas investment at any cost to the capital”.
Calatrava’s Peninsula Place forms part of £8.4 billion transformation of the Peninsula and will provide 15,720 new homes in seven new neighbourhoods over the coming years. According to The Guardian, the initial agreement required 35% of “affordable housing” (that shouldn’t cost more 80% of the market rent), but developers negotiated it down to 25% on ground of financial viability.
Further questions were soon raised about whether the architect will be able to bring Peninsula Place in on budget and on time. The City of Art and Science in Valencia ended up costing around € 1b (three times the initial budget) and was completed 20 years later, while the World Trade Center Transport Hub in New York opened to the public with 6 years of delay at the price of $ 4b, twice the original budget – Read more.
“We are completely confident that the Greenwich Peninsula project will not not go over budget. It is not the first time I have worked for a private developer and I am sure we will match the budget and the client will be satisfied” said Santiago Calatrava to the Architects’ Journal.