Thames Tideway Project

London, UK

Thames Tideway Project

The Thames Tideway project offers a unique opportunity to create new public spaces next to and actually on the river, opening up views to some of London’s key landmarks and reconnecting people with the iconic River Thames - London’s largest open space.

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The 25km Thames Tideway Tunnel is a major infrastructure project that will modernise London’s ageing sewage system and dramatically improve the environment by preventing millions of tonnes of sewage from overflowing into the river each year. The super sewer project is about far more than just cleaning up the river; it will also offer an opportunity to create new spaces above the engineering, many of which are on land to be reclaimed from the river foreshore (something prevented by planning policy on other developments).

Gillespies are part of the super sewer’s central section contractor’s design team, working alongside lead architect Hawkins\Brown and a multidisciplinary team of engineers, lighting designers and artists to design and deliver the landscape and public realm for eight sites in central London.

A key aspect of the design has been to interpret the unique history of each site and its relationship to the river both within the public realm design, artwork narratives, and within the bespoke Tideway wayfinding strategy, which Gillespies are developing in collaboration with Hawkins\Brown.

The spaces and viewing platforms incorporate facilities for events and, in some instances, stepped terraces that enable people to get close to the river and even dip a toe in at high tide and intertidal planting to enhance the river biodiversity. The public realm design has been closely coordinated with engineering requirements that require crane access to the infrastructure for sewer maintenance.

The project has been granted a Development Consent Order (DCO) under the National Infrastructure Planning System. The team is developing the designs according to the DCO consented parameters and design principles within a highly complex stakeholder environment. We are consulting with the Port of London Authority, Environment Agency, Transport for London, Marine Management Organisation, Historic England, Thames Water, five London Boroughs, and other key stakeholders with local interest, including Royal Hospital Chelsea.

The project is expected to finish in 2024.