Knight Dragon has commissioned the architects behind New York's High Line, an elevated park along a disused railway in Manhattan, to create Phase One of the Peninsula's 5 km running track. The first stretch of the P5K is a collaboration between landscape firm Gross Max and architects Diller Scofidio + Renfo.
Five connected 'islands', each hosting an elevated garden, are supported by painted steel sculptural columns and are connected by a floating walkway with minimalist glass balustrades.
The route of P5k Phase 1 starts on Peninsula Square (where the large TV screen currently is) and runs east to the Thames riverfront. Peninsula Plaza will form a new multi-layer park between the first two of five Upper Riverside buildings, linking North Greenwich Pier to The O2. The P5K is elevated for a 190 m stretch, where it creates a pedestrian route at upper level, and is segregated from running and cycling tracks at ground level. The route navigates existing obstructions, including infrastructure for the London Underground station below. Along the Thames Path, a 370 m stretch of the route is to be integrated at ground level.
Proposals for P5K Phase 1 were submitted to the Royal Borough of Greenwich for planning approval in late January 2017. Subject to planning approval works on the site will commence in 2017 with an anticipated completion in 2018.
The full length of the P5K, when eventually completed, will wrap around the much of the Thames Path. The track is outlined in concept in the Allies & Morrison-designed Greenwich Peninsula Masterplan, which received outline planning permission in September 2015.
The Masterplan describes the P5K conceptually as a landmark landscape feature, with a network of parks and riverside spaces along a sculptural track that creates routes for walking, cycling and running.
Work commenced on the first two of SOM Architect's Upper Riverside buildings, containing 464 new homes, in March 2015 and is expected to complete in the first half of 2018. Building No. 2, located south of the plaza, will contain 194 private homes, including 35 'design apartments' with interiors by Tom Dixon. It will also have a gym and swimming pool on the 15th floor as part of its private residents' Upper Riverside Club. Building No. 1, north of the plaza and adjacent to The O2, contains 255 units, comprising 101 private homes, 54 intermediate (shared-ownership) and 100 social rented homes.
P5K Phase One
When the P5K path reaches the Upper Riverside elevated plaza in front of the Thames Clipper dock, it bends inland, ramping up onto the plaza, and then continuing up into the air as an elevated multi-span pedestrian bridge. The elevated path continues through the site to the south-west, spanning over Cutter Lane, above a newly landscaped garden below between Ravensbourne College and the TfL Office building, through two vertical exhaust towers, and towards Peninsula Plaza. Here the path culminates in a multi-level public landscape and pavilion that provides amphitheatre seating for crowds to overlook the central civic space of the Plaza with its many shops and restaurants.
Island 1 is located adjacent to Peninsula Square and serves as the main entrance and face of the P5K Phase 1. It is one of the largest islands and will contain five 'street food' retail spaces and public toilets. It is characterised by a cluster of landscaped “tree” structures, creating a terraced, multi-level park above the plaza level with café table seating. Theatre seating will form an amphitheatre aside a relocated AEG display screen, mounted on a mesh-covered frame enclosure to London Underground shafts. An elevator will service 3 levels of this platform.
The islands are linked by steel footbridges spanning up to 23m with glass guardrails. Islands 2, 3 and 4 will each have unique integrated seating, some fixed and some moveable, above and below. The spaces under the P5K will take advantage of the unique geometry of the structure to create small pergola-like enclosures within the landscape.
Island 5 anchors the northeastern edge of the Phase 1 site, where Upper Riverside Plaza widens. A large sun deck extends the P5K out towards the river, cantilevering over a terraced green garden. The elevated walkway ramps down to the plaza level, diverging into paths that continue along the river embankment to the north and south.
Below the walkway is a glass enclosed café, north of which lies sunken garden, adjacent to which lies a public plaza and a unique terraced garden. Along the waterfront there will be a series of “Islands” at grade, which will have a similar material and geometric language to the elevated islands.
The full P5K route will be created over the lifetime of the Greenwich Peninsula's development. Proposals would see P5K Phase 1 constructed at Upper Riverside, in conjunction with completion of the first two Upper Riverside buildings in 2018. Physical alterations to the Thames Path and Central Park would represent Phase 2 - likely completed by 2020 alongside the remaining three Upper Riverside buildings. Phase 3 will see the construction of the P5K around Peninsula Place, the Design District and the expanded Central Park.
The final phase of the P5K route will be constructed around the Meridian Quays district on the northwest of the Peninsula, where completion could be some 10-15 years away. Here, the 2015 Masterplan envisioned a "green bridge" spanning three roads, including the approach roads to the Blackwall Tunnel, and took inspiration from The Green Bridge crossing Mile End Road in East London. Instead, the developer now proposes an architectural land bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava as part of the Peninsula Place scheme.