The Tide: An Elevated Linear Park for London’s Thames Riverfront

Construction is currently in progress on a new elevated linear park running along the river Thames. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, “The Tide” offers a multi-level landscape for running, walking, meditation and contemplation of large-scale public art on London’s Greenwich Peninsula. The initial phase of the project, opening in July, will offer the first of 5 kilometers of walkways (about 3 miles total) which rise from the landscape like waves, some standing as high as 30 feet off the ground.

The architects envision The Tide as a network of public spaces and gardens “embedded into the daily rhythms of Greenwich Peninsula,” with programming split across the ground level and the elevated walkways. Sunken gardens, benches, integrated greenery, a long outdoor table and bike paths will be included among the park’s offerings, and Damien Hirst’s sculptures Hydra & Kali and Mermaid will be the first public art to arrive on site. Photographs of the construction process by Luke Hayes give us a peek at how it’s coming along.

“The Tide is conceived of as a series of elevated, landscaped islands where the public is invited to slow down, linger, and overlook the life of the Peninsula. Each island is distinct, defined by unique trees and planting, and by their surrounding views and sounds. These elevated gardens are designed as clusters of structural supports that create elevated planter beds, containing soil and channelling both gravity loads and water down to the ground. The sculptural structure supporting The Tide gardens above also frames and shelters the path below, creating arched pavilions that mark thresholds and passages at the ground level public realm.”

Greenwich Peninsula is a hotbed of redevelopment at the moment, with entire neighborhoods and new landmarks on the way, including a 79-foot-high glass arcade by Santiago Calatrava that will represent the Spanish architect’s first major project in the UK. The new park will sit at the intersection of these emerging neighborhoods, “diverse ecosystems and distinct cultural institutions, connecting north to south, east to west, center to periphery, and city to river,” say the architects.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro is the same firm responsible for designing New York City’s High Line, as well as the controversial new “Shed” structure in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards.