With all the shenanigans and rebuilding going on along the Greenwich waterfront I usually avoid it like the plague. Last time I was there I was nearly run over by a man reversing a large digger across the public footpath without a banksman, right in front of a big sign that said 'No reversing without a banksman'.
But Christmas eve seemed like a good time to nip through on the Thames path and catch up with what was happening.
Here's some photos of what I found on the waterfront of our local World Heritage Site - the purpose of the structure being a new ticket office, and restaurant units to house Zizzi, Nando's and Byron chain restaurants (ie pizzas, chicken and burgers - albeit with great views).
Aghast at the thought that Greenwich Council had approved the designs for such deeply mediocre structures so close to the Cutty Sark and the Royal Naval College, I sought out the planning application. It was difficult to establish the details since none of the documents relating to the original application were available on the website, but the images shown below were sourced from the website of the original architect.
On the embarkation pier in Greenwich, Conran & Partners are creating three new timber, glass and copper pavilions. The central pavilion forms a new ticketing kiosk and glass roofed waiting space for boat users, and the two outer pavilions contain restaurants and a café. A public roof terrace on each gives outdoor dining space and a new vantage point for the Cutty Sark away from the bustle of tourist traffic.
It remains to be seen whether the addition of the architectural fins/sunshades shown on the rendering will actually materialise - and if it does, whether it will improve the buildings by an acceptable degree. One thing that is already clear is that the 'copper' cladding intended to be used on these 'pavilions' is not being applied - the gold coloured cladding (you can see it on the top right of the building in the first photo) is more akin to the material that graces the Deptford Lounge.
I sincerely hope that the facade we are currently seeing is not a 'value engineered' version of the original design - in such a prominent location it would surely be aesthetic suicide? Even the architect's renderings do not fill me with enthusiasm - it does look rather like a missed opportunity to create something stunning at this World Heritage site.
Update: I took this photo of the rendering on the hoardings when I passed the site the other day. As you can see it is very different to the original - gone is the copper cladding and the 'fins' have been cut back to little more than raised ribs around the outside of the building. Again I can't find any details of the changes on the Greenwich Council planning website.