London Dock is a revamp of Wapping’s historic docklands into a thriving urban district. Before opening, the 15-acre site had been closed to the public since 1799. A walled compound subsequently hosted dock functions, warehouses and the News International printworks.
The key to unlocking the site was through a new grid of pathways, public squares and semi-private gardens that draw people into the heart of the development and link the neighbourhood’s spaces and buildings. Complementing this is a 1,800-home, mixed-use development which looks set to see the end of the site's nickname "Fortress Wapping".
New entrances, squares, promenades and gardens provide a rich diversity of public and private spaces, while a collection of site-specific buildings work within this framework to create a series of settings – 44% of the masterplan consists of publicly accessible and elegantly landscaped open space.
Within this, distinct character areas were created. For example, the landscape of Gauging Square changes from sculptural granite, Scots Pine and the reflecting pool to the south, to the organic forms of water fountains, timber seating and soft greenery towards Clipper Wharf. By structuring spaces around squares and gardens, a framework is established for shared or individual experiences.
The public realm design forges new links from Pennington Street in the north and actively encourages east-west pedestrian movement through the site, physically reconnecting Wapping to Tower Hill and City and contributing to the wider regeneration of east London by increasing urban mobility.
While final completion is scheduled for 2030, the occupied buildings and public spaces of Phase 1 already host a diverse community and emerging destination in a place where neither existed before.