Low Line Railway Arches Award, Bankside Urban Design Project, London Community Building Redevelopment Images
Low Line Commons London Design Award
6 + 5 December 2021
Architects: PDP London
Location: Bankside, London, England, UK
Visionary Low Line project wins two design awards
• Climate resilient project recognised as pioneer of world class urban design
• Green corridor connecting neighbourhoods and transforming missing links along the mighty Victorian viaduct through Bankside, London Bridge and Bermondsey
• First unbuilt project to win overall New London Award
‘The Low Line Commons’ design by PDP London architects – for Enid Street:
Low Line Commons Award News
A transformative architectural project, which will create a 3.5km green corridor through some of London’s oldest neighbourhoods, has won two major New London Awards. The Low Line Commons project, by architects PDP London, was named winner of both Planning and Overall categories. The Low Line Commons, which will connect neighbourhoods along the path of the Victorian railway viaduct from Bankside, through London Bridge and on to Bermondsey, is the first unbuilt project to be named overall winner.
Supported by the Mayor of London, the New London Awards celebrate all scales of projects that ‘contribute to the creation of a more sustainable, civilised and egalitarian London’. Of the Low Line Commons, Peter Murray, NLA Curator-in-Chief and Chair of the Judging Panel, said, “The NLA’s mission is to help create a better city. What is better than taking…left-over pieces of urban fabric and stitching them together into spaces that can used by local communities, as well as providing linked-up walking routes that support active travel strategies?”
Commissioned by the Low Line Partners – Better Bankside, Team London Bridge, Blue Bermondsey, Southwark Council and The Arch Company – the Low Line Commons will increase environmental resilience by promoting innovative greening and sustainability initiatives that mitigate climate change, while celebrating the diversity and heritage of each neighbourhood it passes through.
Donald Hyslop, Chair of Better Bankside and the Low Line Steering Group, said, “This is a wonderful pair of accolades for the Low Line, a confirmation of the project’s combination of world class urban design, direct community involvement, environmental action and working with the diverse culture and history of our neighbourhoods. We are beginning to create new places for communities to use and enjoy, bringing people and nature to neglected streets, arches, alleys and yards along this magnificent London Victorian viaduct. The values of the Low Line are the antithesis of the soulless, and we are celebrating the peculiarities, idiosyncrasies and characteristics of each area in a way that can be useful to projects far beyond London. This means the Low Line is constantly changing and we welcome people to come, participate and see what we’re creating just south of the river.”
The imposing Victorian viaduct contains nearly 400 arches, around a third of which are currently derelict or underused. The Low Line is a long-term project to unlock the potential of the arches, opening up a corridor of innovation along the base of the viaduct to breathe new life into disused and inaccessible spaces, connect people, commerce, and communities, and inspire sustainable growth. Each individual development within the Low Line project will be imbued with the awardwinning principles of the Low Line Commons.
The Low Line Commons was conceived by PDP London architects, working with Macfarlane and Associates Landscape Architects, Greengage sustainability consultants and Studio 4215 environment consultants. It was commissioned in 2019 through an international design competition to develop a green vision for the Low Line funded by Lund Trust, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. Nature is fundamental to the project; it will incorporate a variety of ecological interventions, helping to improve local air quality and create a healthier environment. The project features increased green infrastructure – tree planting, community gardens and wildlife habitats – to help create a ‘sense of place’ for the community and encourage more people to visit the Low Line.
The project will be delivered incrementally over time and will deliver:
• 50,000 sqm biodiverse roofs
• 500 new trees
• 30 sustainable drainage systems/rain gardens
• 10,000 plants
• 100 new wildlife habitats
• 1,000 sqm wildflower meadows
• 500 sqm ‘grey to green’ de-paving projects
• 30 pocket spaces supporting social interaction
• 3.5 km carriageway transformed to support green business and active travel
• Pocket parks, productive private green spaces, sensory play areas, pedestrian priority, lighting, canopies, seating, and pop-up uses.
The Low Line partners are currently submitting a bid to the Greater London Authority’s Green and Resilient Spaces Fund to secure funding for four exemplar projects that bring Low Line Commons to life. The proposal, ‘Seeding Low Line Commons’, has been shortlisted from 53 expressions of interest to submit a full bid to the fund, the outcome of which will be revealed in spring 2022.
Low Line Commons London
The Low Line follows the historic rail viaduct just south of the River Thames, revealing hidden walkways and enclosed courtyards, connecting landmarks as Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge Station, Spa Terminus and beyond.
The Low Line links diverse neighbourhoods and communities, leading visitors off the beaten track and into areas of creativity, history, industry and entertainment, such as Old Union Yard Arches, Flat Iron Square and Vinegar Yard, and Bermondsey. It celebrates the heritage of the railway arches and unlocks the potential of derelict and forgotten sites.
The Low Line has developed through a group of initial partners, including three Southwark Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) – Better Bankside, Team London Bridge, Blue Bermondsey – supported by Southwark Council, The Arch Company and Borough Market.
Better Bankside was one of the first Business Improvement Districts in the country, established in 2005 Through a programme co-designed with business members and other local stakeholders, Better Bankside leads positive economic, environmental and social action that benefits the whole neighbourhood. Visit betterbankside.co.uk for more information.
Working with partners and 400+ business members, Team London Bridge’s vision is to ensure London Bridge excels as a leading place for global commerce and continues to develop as a pioneering local centre for enterprise, culture and entertainment. @TeamLondonBdg Teamlondonbridge.co.uk
Blue Bermondsey BID is funded and led by local business for the benefit of local businesses. Activities are geared to address the issues that concern them and offer services to help reduce costs and represent businesses through a unified voice, to enable a better stake in the future of their trading environment. @bluebermondsey Bluebermondsey.co.uk
The Arch Company is a joint venture between property developer Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners. It has a portfolio of approximately 5,200 properties, making it the UK’s largest small business landlord, serving thousands of business owners who make a unique and vital contribution to the UK economy.
Lund Trust is a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. It supports charities and causes they especially care about. Since 2002 Lund Trust has given $64.5 million to more than 350 organisations, in the UK and internationally. www.lundtrust.org.uk
Previously on e-architect:
Low Line Railway Arches
Design: TDO Studio
21 Apr 2021
Low Line Railway Arches, Bankside London
Low Line Design Competition Winner
‘The Low Line Commons’ design by PDP London architects – for Bombay Street:
image courtesy of TDO
Musicity London Architecture – 2019, Low Line
Architects: TDO Studio
Low Line Railway Arches London Award images / information received 041221
Location: Bankside, London SE1, England, UK
London Architecture Links – chronological list
Hilton London Bankside
Interior Design: Chris Webb
image courtesy of architects office
Hilton London Bankside Hotel
Design: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
photo : Edmund Sumner
NEO Bankside Luxury Flats
GAIL’s Artisan Bakery in Southwark
Design: Holland Harvey Architects
photography © Ståle Eriksen
Gail’s Artisan Bakery in Neo Bankside
Comments / photos for the Low Line Railway Arches London Award page welcome