Redevelopment of historic, post-industrial waterfront brownfield site creates a 4.5-acre public park plus affordable housing

In London, England on September 9, 2021, the Royal borough of Greenwich’s Planning Committee has granted planning consent for architectural firm OMA’s mixed-use redevelopment on London’s Greenwich Peninsula at Morden Wharf.

For over half a century, the name Morden Wharf has been synonymous with innovation and industry. This is where the world’s first submarine cables were made, where ships were manufactured by steam-driven machines, where soapworks and ropeworks thrived.

The site’s emphasis was on large-scale industry until market forces sparked a slow decline and the eventual demolition of all but three buildings, leaving the ailing Morden Wharf we know today.

Real estate developer U+I acquired Morden Wharf in March 2012

The location is a 2.4-hectare (6 acres) waterfront brownfield site located equidistant from historic Greenwich and the millennial O2 Arena.

OMA’s design for U+I follows a years-long design and consultation process.

Carol Patterson, Director-in-Charge eaplins, “Designed pre-pandemic, an immediately accessible riverfront public park and renovated Thames Path for all residents of the peninsula working from home or otherwise has even greater significance than envisaged.

Key to its development is maximizing the potential of the riverfront for public use and access.

The site’s industrial past is reflected in the proposed mix of uses, balancing new residential development with employment and community uses.

Richard Upton, U+I’s CEO says, “We care very much about the legacy that we deliver in the Borough. 25 years after the demolition of the sugar factory our proposal will bring this part of Greenwich back to life and we think it is the time for Modern Wharf to be reborn.

The existing warehouse on the site is preserved and will house small enterprises and creative businesses.

Along the Thames’ edge will sit Morden Park, a 1.6-hectare (4.5 acres) public park, harkening back to the site’s marshland beginnings.

Reinier de Graaf, an OMA Partner says, “Our proposition for Morden Wharf is one with little ego, a surrender to the existing context that aims to reconcile the past with the future. Architecture doesn’t exist for its own sake but to frame the public space in-between.

Morden Wharf will provide up to 1500 new homes, in 12 high-quality, tenure-blind residential buildings, of which 35% will be affordable, including a mix of shared ownership and London Affordable Rent.

Commercial and employment use is expected to create approximately 700 new permanent jobs.

All images courtesy of ODA / Pixelflakes.

See ODA website.

See U+I website.

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