One cannot help but appreciate the spectacular location of this site: effectively surrounded by water and potentially enjoying stunning views of the River Thames, Greenwich, the City and the broad majestic docks retained in the regeneration of the Surrey Docks.
The architectural concept has been derived from this extremely powerful water context and its scale, and has taken references from both Victorian and Dock Industrial architecture associated with inland water as well as seaside locations – the latter having the quality and finesse of piers and their associated structures.
We have taken the view that Rainbow Quays is a peninsula in the water, and that this peninsula has been spatially reorganised with a strong orientation north-south, expressed through the raised pier buildings, but fundamentally creating a high degree of visual and accessible permeability at ground level from South Dock to Greenwich Dock.
To achieve this, with respect to the concept, we have encouraged within the design the provision of public facilities – both retail and leisure. These are particularly apparent along Rope Street (the major route to a future River Thames Riverbus passenger terminal) and to Greenland Dock where low-level walkways and pontoons can be created, thus justifying the covered arcade.
The design envisages a single architectural entity, with the colonnade providing visual continuity behind which the residential, leisure and retail buildings articulate. The scale responds to adjacent developments, the dock, sun and wind.
The design was prepared in 1987 for Countryside Properties PLC to submit to the LDDC as a developer competition entry.