Greenwich Peninsula developer Knight Dragon announced in April 2015 the release of the first apartments in the Upper Riverside development on the northeast of the Peninsula. The development, on which construction began in March 2015, comprises of five new high-rise waterfront buildings containing 1,007 new apartments, of which 205 units (20%) are allocated affordable housing. The first phase of the project, designed by SOM Architects, will see 464 homes provided in two buildings of 21- and 23-stories, located closest to The O2, completed in 2018. The apartments feature full-height glazing and will capture expansive views over the River Thames and The O2, as well as Antony Gormley’s sculpture Quantum Cloud, the Thames Clipper at North Greenwich Pier and the Emirates Air Line cable car.
A collection of 'limited edition high concept design apartments' with interiors by Tom Dixon were first to be released to the market. Following the sale of all 35 furnished apartments in the first release, Greenwich Peninsula plan to release the remaining private apartments in the first two buildings (referred to as No.1 and No.2 Upper Riverside) on 3rd March 2016. A new advertisment campaign, created by The Beautiful Meme, appeared in newspapers and tube stations across London in February, ahead of the release date.
A planning application (14/1799/F) covering Plots N0205, N0206 & N0207 of the 2004 Masterplan was submitted by Knight Dragon in August 2014 and approved by Royal Borough of Greenwich in February 2015. The Upper Riverside area, formerly referred to as Peninsula Central East, is home to Ravensbourne College and the retail/office blocks on Mitre Passage and Pier Walk. These and the footprint of the Upper Riverside buildings fall outwith the area covered in Knight Dragon's revised 2015 Greenwich Peninsula Masterplan.
The developer plans to construct Buildings 1 and 2 in the first phase of the development to provide 464 new homes, on which construction commened in March 2015 and is expected to complete in March 2018. Construction of the second phase, in which 543 homes will be provided in Buildings 3, 4 and 5, will commence in June 2016 and is expected to take almost four years, completing in May 2020. Most recent cost estimates for the development stand at £164 million for Phase 1 and £194 million for Phase 2.
Of the five buildings, only Buildings 1 (closest to The O2) and 3 will contain affordable homes. Buildings 2, 4 and 5 are entirely private tenure. Of 1,007 new apartments in total, 802 will be private (full price market rate) and 205 affordable (20%), comprising of 141 social rented and 64 intermediate.
While the 2004 Masterplan consents no less than 38% affordable housing across the wider Greenwich Peninsula scheme, the agreement allows individual sites to deliver less, so long as the average is achieved. Developer Knight Dragon faced criticism for allocating a higher percentage of affordable homes to the Lower Riverside area where developments have a higher concentration of social rent and 'part-buy/part-rent' homes.
Upper Riverside development
The the five new high-rise waterfront residential buildings of the Upper Riverside will increase in height from The O2 towards the Emirates Air Line. Building 5 will stand at 102 meters on the south of the plot, while Building 1 - located adjacent to The O2 - will reach 70m (21 stories). Heights comply with restrictions set by Civil Aviation Authority in order to ensure the safety of aircraft activity from nearby City Airport. Across the Upper Riverside site this requires buildings not to exceed 115m in the north and 109m in the south. Elsewhere on the Greenwich Peninsula, building heights of future developments are expected to reach as high as 133.5, as set out in Knight Dragon's revised Masterplan.
The masses sensitively lower to meet the iconic structure of the O2 and raise to the Emirates Air Line to form a gateway portal at the landing point. The effect created by this defines a gently cascading sequence of buildings forming a distinctive skyline which continues the emerging undulating of building heights along the eastern bank of the Peninsula. Concentrating the height of the towers towards Cutter Lane and away from the Thames allows for the reduction of the buildings overshadowing the waterfront and promenade and for adjacent public spaces to be lit naturally.
The imposing glass and stone façades of the Upper Riverside have been created by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) Architects, who also designed and a strikingly similar residential development at Elephant and Castle, as well as the proposed 44-storey residential Baltimore Tower in Canary Wharf, Manhattan Loft Gardens in Stratford.
Architects describe the angular form of the building as creating individual living spaces that are full of character. The staggered exterior wall expression reduces overlooking of neighbouring buildings and maximises views towards the Thames.
LanDscaping AND PUBLIC SPACE
Landscape consultants Gross Max Landscape Architects developed the public realm and landscape proposal for the Upper Riverside scheme.
A new plaza will extend the existing Peninsula Square from North Greenwich Underground and Bus Station, past The O2 towards the Thames riverfront, where a public square will lie north of Building 2. Waterfront Square, occupying a 58m wide gap between Buildings 1 and 2, will form part of a multi-layer riverfront promenade. Building 2 will also have a raised private amenity space on the ground, to the south of the building. The space between Buildings 3 and 4 will provide public access through the site.
The current mooring station of the Thames Clipper is integrated in the proposals, however it is envisaged that as part of future development a new, sculptural shaped, free standing kiosk/ticket office can create a new destination and more integrated point of arrival/departure for users of the river boat service.
The northern and southern edges of the plaza will house retail and café terraces. Developers envision that the plaza will provide a space for the commissioning of a landmark public artwork and special art features. Key attraction on the waterfront square are a series of shallow reflection pools which act as shallow paddling pools in summer, which are flanked by stepped seating integrated in the raised landform, providing views across the square and over the river Thames.
The Peninsula holds various environmental and construction constraints due to the close proximity of the River Thames, the two Jubilee Line tunnels that are below the site and the live services that feed the existing adjacent buildings. Also, the future provision for the proposed Silvertown Tunnel requires an exclusion zone which overlaps with the site.
No. 2 Upper Riverside
Together Buildings 1 and 2 form the first phase of development of the Upper Riverside. Upper Riverside No. 2, second from the north, will contain 194 units, all private tenure, comprising of 12 studios, 69 one-bed, 87 two-bed and 26 three-bed flats. The building will be 78 metres (23 storeys) tall and will be the second shortest of the five buildings.
The number of units per floor varies up the height of the building, with low levels housing up to 13 apartments per floor, mid levels housing 6-7 apartments and high levels housing 2 apartments on each floor. Three lifts serve the building from ground to level 18, with one lift dropping out at level 19 and the remaining two lifts serving the remainder of the building. The lifts are located along the building's exterior and will exit into daylight-lit lobby areas.
The elevated stepping of Building 2 has been used to create a chain of gardens and terraces. The lowest terrace is a dedicated communal area accessible to all residents in the private apartments of the Upper Riverside buildings. The higher terraces in each building provide private spaces with panoramic views around the site. Larger roof terraces at levels 16, 19 and 20 are accessible only by the 3 residential units adjacent to them at these levels.
SHARED AREAS AND RESIDENTS' CLUB
The ground floor of the Building 2, accessed via the entrance on Cutter Lane, features a lobby with interiors designed by Tom Dixon. It provides access to a private garden south of the building, retail space and three ground floor apartments with garden patios.
Private tenure residents will have access to the Upper Riverside Club, housed in Building 2 which hosts an swimming pool on the 15th floor - one of London's highest - that extends out of the building envelope and onto the roof terrace at this level, and will be able to open up to the outdoors in warmer weather. Residents also have access to a shared lounge, private cinema, games room, dining room, dining terrace and BBQ space, as well as meeting rooms, library and co-working areas.
First release (April 2015)
In April 2015, Greenwich Peninsula released the Tom Dixon Edition Apartments - a collection of 35 studios, lofts and penthouses. The apartments, all in Building 2, come furnished with interiors by Tom Dixon's Design Research Studio, who also designed interiors for the Greenwich Peninsula Marketing Hub and the landscaping of Peninsula Garden. The apartments range in size from 516 sq ft studios to a 1,800 sq ft penthouse, priced from £385,000 to £2.1 million. They were made available to purchase off-plan, with anticipated occupancy in autumn/winter 2018. The Modern House acted as the sole agent for this collection of apartments.
Interiors by Tom Dixon and Design Research Studio, available in a choice of two colour schemes, consist of a palette of warm and rich materials. The Resident reports:
Tom Dixon has really embraced the area’s heritage – from marshland to industrial centre – to create what will no doubt soon become one of London’s most desirable new ‘villages’. Each residence features enamel splashbacks by the makers of the London Underground signage and copper cabinetry to the kitchen, Art Deco motifs, a rich colour palette, and bathrooms with anodised rolled steel and glass shower screens that reflect a range of colours.
Design by Tom Dixon and Design Research Studio, robust and industrial materials used throughout lend a strong British narrative and also make reference to the history of Greenwich. The interiors strike a contemporary balance combining natural and warm materials like copper, leather and wood with bold sculptural forms.
The studios apartments, located on floors 2 - 12, measure approximately 516 sq ft internally and feature expansive glazing and private balconies overlooking the river. The kitchen wraps along the back wall of the living space, and bespoke sliding screens provide visual separation for the sleeping area.
Above: Example floor plans from studio flat and loft apartment.
The 1 and 2-bedroom loft apartments over 1.5 stories are stacked vertically along the southern end of the building (example right), and measure between 861 and 1,001 sq ft internally. The dramatic double-height living, kitchen and dining space has access to a private balcony, and expansive glazing maximises the amount of natural light and frames views of the ever-changing river and skyline. Some of the apartments have steps down into the living space, while others are arranged on one level.
The Penthouses on the upper floors of Building 2 include a 3-bed apartment on level 19 and a 2-bed apartment on level 20. There is also a 3-bed apartment with a smaller private roof terrace on level 16. Each has private roof terraces.
Levels 21-23 house a duplex penthouse with three bedrooms and large terrace on the 21st floor and a private patio on the 23rd, spanning 1786 sq ft in total. The lower level contains a master bedroom with en-suite shower room, two further double bedrooms, a bathroom and utility room. The second level is arranged as a single spectacular living, dining and kitchen space with expansive glazing. This then has steps up to a third level (23), where there is a private roof terrace on underneath an 'operable louver roof' which provides patio cover.
Above: Penthouse Interiors, No. 2 Upper Riverside (Greenwich Peninsula marketing suite)
Second Release (March 2016)
Following the high-profile launch and sale of all 35 Tom Dixon furnished 'design apartments' in the first release in April 2015, Greenwich Peninsula plan to release the remaining private apartments in the first two buildings on 3rd March 2016. Presumably, the release of the remaining 95 private apartments in Building 1 (130 in total) and 194 private apartments in Building 2 will be staged over the months ahead. Details of the 140 affordable homes in this phase, all in Building 1, will be released at a later date by the social housing provider.
Apartments in the upcoming release feature different interiors with more neutral tones:
Internal spaces respond to the unique geometry and location of the building, prioritising comfort, light and space. Restful tones and cool, smooth surfaces draw light inside. Full height sliding windows frame stunning river views. Polished marble, subtle woods and glossy panels complement a modern palette choice of dark or light. Fixtures and fittings speak of solidity and craftsmanship and every apartment has a private outdoor balcony or terrace.
No. 1 Upper Riverside
Building 1 houses the social rent and intermediate tenures of the first phase of development, in addition to some private units. The building has been divided in plan with social units located in the southern end of the building with an entrance located opposite The O2. The intermediate and private residential units are located in the northern (river-facing) half of the building sharing an entrance and core accessible from the plaza between Buildings 1 and 2.
Ninety-eight social rent units occupy the southern end of the building from levels 1-16 served by a dedicated lift core. The northern half of the building is a mix of 42 intermediate units and 130 private apartments served by a second lift core. The intermediate units are also distributed between levels 1-16, sharing floors with private units. As the building steps back at levels 18 and 21, all apartments are private tenure served by the private and intermediate lift core.