Camden Highline Contest, North London Public Realm, UK Disused Railway Competition, Buildings, Architecture
Camden Highline Competition Winners
19 May 2022
London’s newest park, the Camden Highline, submitted for planning
Location: Camden, North London, England, UK
Design: James Corner Field Operations with vPPR Architects
Camden Highline Planning News
The Camden Highline has been submitted for planning. The proposal is to regenerate a disused railway viaduct to create a new elevated park that links Camden Town and its famous market via Camley Street to Kings Cross, bringing much needed green space to a broad mix of communities. The masterplan is led by the practice behind the New York Highline, James Corner Field Operations, together with Camden-based practice vPPR Architects. The community-driven initiative will create walking routes between local neighbourhoods, deliver a new international visitor attraction for London, and boost biodiversity in the capital.
The Camden Highline will feature gardens and walkways, alongside seating areas, cafés, arts and cultural interventions, spaces for charitable activities and areas for children’s play. The designs are inspired by woodlands, meadows, hedgerows, and productive gardens, and the park will provide new wildlife habitats for birds, insects and animals. Visitors will be encouraged to learn about the plants and animals vital to London’s ecology, and a woodland balcony will provide a natural wooded environment that overlooks Camden Town.
The low impact intervention is based on a circular understanding of materials and construction, repurposing an existing railway viaduct and using reclaimed materials from the site wherever possible. The design will respond to the unique characteristics of each bridge crossing and the unique vistas they offer. Entrances to the park will be designed to transition visitors from the busy streets of Camden to the slow and peaceful eco-system above, through light and art installations on stairways and under bridges.
The Camden Highline route will be 1.2km long, running 8m above the ground, with entrances on Camden High Street, Royal College Street, Camley Street and York Way. The new green artery for London will weave through some of Camden’s most densely populated social housing estates, connecting 20,000 people to new green space. Alongside its health and social benefits, it is predicted to attract two million new visitors a year, contributing £16m of annual spend to Camden Town and Kings Cross. The submission is for the first phase of the project, from Camden Gardens to Royal College Street, and the park is planned to open in phases from 2025. A digital interactive route map can be viewed here.
The masterplan represents a major milestone for this grass roots initiative, which originated as a concept in a local newspaper in 2017 and grew via a Crowdfund with more than 1,000 supporters. To date more than 300 local volunteers have given their time to local educational and fundraising activities to raise awareness of the project and more than 1,600 people have taken part in a walking tour of the Camden Highline route.
James Corner Field Operations and vPPR Architects have worked closely with Street Space to ensure local community engagement continues to play a central role in the project design. The esteemed design team includes internationally renowned garden designer Piet Oudolf and artist and curator Hew Locke. The masterplan also features lighting design by Speirs Major and font and wayfinding by design agency Pentagram. The plans have undergone extensive feasibility, safety and technical assessments with Network Rail and sustainability evaluation with Atelier Ten.
London has one of the highest levels of air pollution in the UK and the Camden Highline feeds into a broader stepping up of efforts to introduce more green spaces into inner-London neighbourhoods. It is also the centrepiece of an overarching public realm strategy, Camden Green Loop, to connect Camden’s key landmarks and existing green spaces via public pathways, which will launch later this year with a wayfinding scheme. Laying the foundation for a 15-minute city vision for the borough, it will be a catalyst for active travel and reconnecting residents with their local high streets and neighbourhoods.
Camden Highline, the charity behind the project, is now turning its focus to fundraising for construction, and preparing to expand its fundraising team and trustees to support this work. Visit camdenhighline.com to find out more, sign up to our newsletter for updates, donate and help make the Highline happen.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, comments: “The Camden Highline epitomises London’s creativity and ingenuity and is the kind of thinking we need as we head towards a green future. Londoners should be encouraged to spend more time outside and in nature, in cleaner and greener spaces for their health and wellbeing.”
Camden Highline CEO, Simon Pitkeathley, comments: “The design team led by Field Operations have surpassed our already high expectations and there is no doubt that The Camden Highline will be a beautiful park in the sky. Now the real challenge is to raise the funds to build it so that we can all benefit. This will involve a collaborative effort from a range of funding sources, and we would like to talk to anyone who thinks they might be able to help.”
Lead Designer James Corner of Field Operations comments: “We are extremely excited to share this design vision for Camden Highline. The design is intended to celebrate and amplify the unique characteristics of the railway viaduct, dramatizing movement and discovery, set within a sequence of woodlands, meadows, and gardens.”
The Camden Highline will turn a 1.2km stretch of disused railway, formerly part of the North London Railway, into new elevated park and walking route. The current planning submission is for the first phase of the project, from Camden Gardens to Royal College Street. Two subsequent sections will run from Royal College Street to Camley Street, and Camley Street to York Way. Camden Highline is the registered charity responsible for the delivery and operation of The Camden Highline Park, along with a broad coalition of stakeholders. Timelines set the first phase of Camden Highline to open in 2025.
Instagram: @camdenhighline Twitter: @camdenhighline
The Camden Highline has been made possible thanks to generous contributions from LabTech, the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, Camden Council and Camden Town Unlimited, and the committed network of ‘Camden Highliners’ who have supported the project since its inception.
The Design Team:
• Lead Consultant: James Corner Field Operations
• Architecture: vPPR Architects
• Planting Design: Piet Oudolf
• Art: Hew Locke
• Engagement: Street Space
• Lighting Design: Speirs Major
• Railways: Tony Gee Engineering
• Engineering: AKTII
• Cost-modelling: Rider Levett Bucknall
• Sustainability: Atelier Ten
• Identity & Wayfinding: Pentagram
• Heritage: Authentic Futures
• Lichfields: Planning
• Avondale Consulting: Construction planning
• Ecology and Biodiversity: London Wildlife Trust
James Corner Field Operations
James Corner Field Operations is an international landscape architecture and urban design practice with offices in London, New York, San Francisco, and Shenzhen. Their many award-winning, public realm design projects include New York’s High Line, London’s South Park at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Hong Kong’s Avenue of the Stars and Victoria Harbourfront, Seattle’s Central Waterfront, Brooklyn’s Domino Park, and Miami’s The Underline.
vPPR Architects was established in 2009 by Tatiana von Preussen, Catherine Pease, and Jessica Reynolds, and is an award-winning practice known for bold designs that bring clarity to complex sites, with a focus on community and sustainability. Located in Kentish Town, London, projects include Camden’s Horse Hospital, Wembley Olympic Way, and the RIBA Award-winning Otts Yard and Vaulted House.
Camden Green Loop
The Camden Green Loop is a major new urban design strategy launched by Camden Town Unlimited (CTU) and Euston Town. It will link the borough’s key landmarks, cultural experiences, and green spaces, to create better walking and cycling routes between Camden, Euston and Kings Cross. Camden Highline will form a major landmark for the project. The Camden Green Loop also includes a Green Loop Climate Plan, to build shared knowledge on sustainability, making climate action more achievable to more organisations.
Previously on e-architect:
15 Feb 2021
Location: Camden, London, England, UK
Design: James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) with vPPR Architects
Camden Highline Design Competition Winners
The design of Camden Highline, the UK’s latest green infrastructure project, has been awarded to a team led by James Corner Field Operations, the firm behind South Park at Q.E. Olympic Park and New York High Line, in collaboration with vPPR Architects, following a two-stage international competition. They will now work with the local community to reimagine a three-quarter mile of disused railway viaduct as a new walking route, park and open space for community activity.
Grassroots charity, Camden Highline, has today announced a winner following their five-month search for the design team who will deliver London’s new elevated park, linking Camden Town to King’s Cross. The highly sought-after prize saw a distinguished jury deliberate 76 entries and 5 shortlists before allocating the successful bid to James Corner Field Operations.
First stages will see the winning design team consult with the local community and key stakeholders to create an inclusive design plan for the ambitious new walkway and advance it through the planning process. Camden Highline will be a positive example of London’s postCovid recovery, connecting neighbourhoods, increasing local access to green space, and enticing national and international tourists back to the capital. It will build community pride and sense of place, providing much-needed greenery and opportunities for cultural programming.
The competition winners have brought together an alliance of applied and creative specialists, including Kentish Town-based vPPR Architects, London artist Hew Locke, community consultation organisation Street Space and Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, among others. This multidisciplinary team incudes newly emerging local talent and internationally experienced firms, working together to design the Camden Highline as a considered resident amenity and ground-breaking visitor’s destination.
The charity is hosting a virtual Q&A with winners James Corner Field Operations and vPPR Architects, Camden Highline Chair and Jury member Richard Terry, and CEO Simon Pitkeathley on Thursday 11th March at 5:30pm. This is an opportunity for audiences to learn more about the project and the team delivering it.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Camden Highline has the potential to become a really important new asset for the local community in Camden and people across the capital. This is exactly the sort of innovative, environmentally sustainable and locally-driven project which could make an important contribution to London’s recovery from the pandemic. I really look forward to seeing these ambitious plans take shape.”
Minister for London, Paul Scully, said: “It’s fantastic to see a slice of the Big Apple coming to London, with the creation of a new park in the sky in Camden inspired by the New York High Line. The Camden Highline will not only create some welcome additional green space in central London for local residents to enjoy, but cement Camden’s place on the map as a top tourist attraction – providing a welcome boost as we build back better, and greener, from Covid-19.”
MP for Holborn & St Pancras, Keir Starmer, said: “Camden Highline is an ambitious project to bring new life to old rail infrastructure, connect our communities and increase our access to green space. This new link has the potential to support our mental and physical wellbeing, which is so important as we move forward from this pandemic. I am really looking forward to seeing the plans take shape.”
Leader of Camden Council, Georgia Gould, said: “Camden Highline is a grassroots project that has been grown and nurtured by a vibrant community of local supporters. It has been amazing to watch it go from an idea backed by locals to now seeing it secure global attention and an award-winning design team. Camden, and indeed the whole of London, will reap the social and economic rewards that this exceptional new park will bring.”
Camden Highline CEO, Simon Pitkeathley, said: “Every time we reach another milestone, I find myself thinking that I can’t believe we’ve come so far so quickly. Something that started as a bit of a mad idea is now going to be designed by a team of the finest people we could ever have hoped to work with. I cannot wait to see their ideas unfold and be put into practice.”
Lead Designer James Corner, of Field Operations, said: “Camden is such an extraordinary place, a vibrant, hip, and diverse community that will soon enjoy an amazingly unique, public green thread that ties its various communities together in ways both revelatory and transformative. We could not be more excited to work with residents and stakeholders to create a one-of-a-kind elevated park along the viaduct that speaks to the magical symbiosis of nature, culture, arts, and community.”
Tatiana von Preussen of vPPR Architects, said: “We are delighted to be selected to work with James, our design team, and the Camden community to create a really distinctive and delightful project for Camden. As local residents and business, this project is very special to us and we look forward to the next few months, generating ideas and building a wonderful sense of community, design, and aspiration for this important project.”
This stage of the Camden Highline has been made possible thanks to generous contributions
from LabTech, the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, Camden Council and Camden
Town Unlimited, who have supported the project since inception.
The Camden Highline is a registered charity, number 1191150. Camden Town Unlimited is a
business improvement district that started the Camden Highline project in 2017. Camden
Highline will run from Camden Town to King’s Cross, creating a new walking route. Although
plans are still being finalised, early timelines set the first phase of Camden Highline to open in
2024. Thanks to the support of a committed network of ‘Camden Highliners’, who crowdfunded
over £63,000, the charity has been able to reach this milestone.
Alternative Camden is the strategic vision for Camden Town, created by an alliance of two
organisations, Camden Town Unlimited and Euston Town BIDs. Their vision is focused on the
concept of a ‘green loop’—the idea of connecting communities in Camden Town, Euston and
King’s Cross with innovative and creative routes, such as the Camden Highline, that benefit
residents whilst attracting new visitors and boosting the local economy.
THE JURY PANEL
The Jury Panel was chaired by Richard Terry, Structural Engineer and Chair of Camden
Highline. Other jurors were:
• Alison Brooks, Principal Alison Brooks Architects, Good Growth by Design Advocate to the Mayor of London and Trustee of Open City
• Wayne Hemingway, Hemingway Design, Good Growth by Design Advocate to the Mayor of London
• Edward Jarvis, Urban Design Manager, London Borough of Camden
• Indy Johar, Architect and Good Growth by Design Advocate to the Mayor of London
• Kathryn Moore, Past President of the International Federation of Landscape Architects, Member of the HS2 Design Review Panel and Professor of Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University
The Jury Panel was assisted by a Technical Panel that included representatives from Camden Town Unlimited, Network Rail, Camden Council, and Transport for London.
JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS
James Corner Field Operations is an international landscape architecture and urban design practice with offices in London, New York, San Francisco, and Shenzhen. Their many awardwinning, public realm design projects include New York’s High Line, London’s South Park at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Hong Kong’s Avenue of the Stars and Victoria Harbourfront, Seattle’s Central Waterfront, Brooklyn’s Domino Park, and Miami’s The Underline.
vPPR Architects was established in 2009 by Tatiana von Preussen, Catherine Pease, and
Jessica Reynolds, and is an award-winning practice known for bold designs that bring clarity to
complex sites, with a focus on community and sustainability. Located in Kentish Town, London,
projects include Camden’s Horse Hospital, Wembley Olympic Way, and the RIBA Awardwinning Otts Yard and Vaulted House.
THE DESIGN TEAM
• Design Lead: James Corner Field Operations
• vPPR Architects
• Piet Oudolf
• Hew Locke
• Street Space
• Speirs Major
• Tony Gee Engineering
• AKT II
• Rider Levett Bucknall
• Atelier Ten
• Authentic Futures
3 Nov 2020
Camden Highline Design Competition Shortlist
The Camden Highline charity has shortlisted five design teams from talent across the globe, all in with a chance to deliver the exceptional new green passage that will connect Camden Town to King’s Cross. The shortlisted entries all examined the relationships between humans and nature to define their individual approach for creating London’s very own Highline.
Camden Highline Competition Shortlist
7 Sep 2020
Camden Highline Design Competition
Location: Camden, North London, England, UK
Camden Highline Competition – a new park for London
A competition to find a design team that can deliver a stunning design for the Camden Highline, a new park and linear walk linking London’s Camden Town to King’s Cross, on a disused railway viaduct.
The client’s aspiration is to create a park for everybody, connecting people in the area both physically and with new community activities.
Colander Associates is delighted to announce that it will be managing this high-profile competition on behalf of the Camden Highline Charity, to find an exceptional team to design a new park for London. The Camden Highline will occupy 1.1km of disused railway viaduct running from Camden Town to King’s Cross and the vacant platforms at Camden Road station, with a number of access points along its route to connect it to road level.
This is a very special project that needs an exceptional team both to design it and deliver it, one that balances design, community, nature and innovation alongside technical experience. For this reason, we invite submissions from partnerships which include established and experienced organisations alongside emerging designers.
As well as representatives of the Charity, the jury will include Alison Brooks of Alison Brooks Architects; Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design; Ed Jarvis of Camden Council; Indy Johar, Good Growth by Design Advocate to the Mayor of London; Kathryn Moore, President of the International Federation of Landscape Architects.
To express an interest, and access further information about this project, competitors should visit https://www.colander.co.uk/architectural-competitions and follow the link. This process is being managed by Colander Associates Ltd and all general enquiries should be addressed to [email protected]
The competition is following a two-stage OJEU compliant process. At Stage 1, applications are invited in the form of an expression of interest. Up to five teams will be shortlisted to Stage 2 and will be asked to respond to an Invitation to Tender and attend an interview with the Jury Panel. An honorarium of £10,000 will be paid to the shortlisted Stage 2 teams.
New York High Line for reference:
photograph © Iwan Baan
Stage 1 submissions are required by noon on 07 October 2020.
Richard Terry, Chairman of the Camden Highline said:
“We’re thrilled to be taking this next big step towards realising Camden’s exciting new park in the sky. We need it more than ever now, and I for one can’t wait to enjoy it!”
Previously on e-architect:
4 Aug 2017
Camden Highline London Funding
Camden Highline Crowdfunding Campaign Beats Target
A crowdfunding campaign for the Camden Highline has raised £64k, almost double its initial target a month after beginning.
The project, a rival to New York’s iconic High Line, will provide a pedestrian and cycle route to link the world-famous Camden Market with the recently redeveloped King’s Cross area.
Local business group Camden Town Unlimited recently launched the crowdfunding campaign to raise £40,000 for a feasibility study into the proposals.
Visualisations: Studio Weave and Architecture 00
Camden Highline London Design Proposal images / information from Camden Highline
Location: Camden, North London, England, UK
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