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Competition winner revealed: Reimagining Butler’s Wharf

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The Tide Line – an evocative landscape designed by Ludwig Willis Architects with Structure Workshop and Howard Miller Landscape and Design – has been revealed as the winning concept in the LFA and Butler’s Wharf Riverside Trust’s ‘Reimagining Butler’s Wharf’ competition.

The competition is a key stage towards the long-term transformation of Butler’s Wharf, Shad Thames – one of London’s most popular riverside spaces. The LFA and Butler’s Wharf Riverside Trust invited architects, landscape architects, designers and artists to consider how to unlock the site’s waterfront potential as an imaginative and engaging space for all, bringing visitors, Londoners and the local community back together on this historic jetty.



The Tide Line is inspired by the edge of the River Thames at Butler’s Wharf, where layers of ecology, history and access are revealed and concealed by the daily rhythms of the tide. The team have reimagined the jetty as a riparian landscape tracing along the mean low tide mark: watermen’s stairs become places of vantage and orientation, while masts placed along the length of the jetty recall its heritage and act as armatures for wayfinding and lighting. Along the deck, planters are filled with flora specific to the Thames and irrigated by the river using integrated low-energy solutions.



The Tide Line has been conceived to augment the island character of the Butler’s Wharf jetty, providing a breathing space from the bustling city silhouetted to the west and affording sanctuary for health, well-being and resilience as the river winds east. The concept will now be developed through an inclusive design process that reviews feedback from stakeholders and the local community, exploring themes of environment and ecology, and responding to questions about maintenance and deliverables.



As a local practice based in Southwark, Ludwig Willis overcame competition from over 50 teams, and impressed the expert jury panel which included Paul Zara (director, Paul Zara Architects), Sarah Gaventa (director of the Illuminated River Foundation), Johanna Gibbons (partner, J & L Gibbons), David Ogunmuyiwa (principal, ArchitectureDoingPlace and Mayor’s Design Advocate), Dr Emma Sanderson-Nash (chair, Butler’s Wharf Riverside Trust), Ruth Slavid (journalist and editor) and Tamsie Thomson (managing director, New London Architecture).



Tamsie Thomson, managing director of New London Architecture, said:

“The Butler’s Wharf jetty is one of my favourite places in London and is somewhere that enchants residents and visitors alike. I’m really looking forward to working with the design team and Butler’s Wharf Residents Trust to engage with everyone who uses the jetty as we work to realise its full potential as one of London’s most unique public spaces. As a local design practice Ludwig Willis have clearly understood what makes the jetty unique, and have brought together a talented team around a very imaginative concept. I’m looking forward to seeing how that concept develops further and working towards its realisation.”


Emma Sanderson-Nash, Chair, Butler’s Wharf Riverside Trust, said:

“We were delighted by the response to our competition which inspired such creative and thoughtful designs. The Tide Line by Ludwig Willis best reflects our aim for better seating, planting and lighting with the needs of businesses and residents uppermost in our minds. We like its minimalist and linear design, which feels like natural evolution rather than radical change and which sits peacefully beside nearby giants of Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. Materials are drawn from recycled materials and it also has the potential to involve local craftspeople and trades at the delivery phase. We look forward to working closely with Ludwig Willis in the coming months to bring forward the final proposal and costings.”

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