New team appointed to masterplan new era for Thamesmead

A diverse team promising to lead a new era in community-building and encompassing a wide range of organisations, from global heavyweights to local impact led businesses, has been appointed as the strategic masterplanner that will help shape a major new waterfront neighbourhood at Thamesmead. 

The Thamesmead Waterfront development covers 100 hectares of largely undeveloped land in southeast London, where Peabody and Lendlease have entered into a circa GBP8 billion joint venture, which offers the opportunity to lead the way in post pandemic living and working. 

The team includes Jayden Ali and culture experts Tracey Sage and Place Bureau, working hand in hand as part of the team assembled and led by Prior + Partners and Arup. 

Their work will lead to the creation of a new community where there is space for thousands of homes alongside new commercial and leisure space, set amongst an unrivalled natural environment in London with lakes, green spaces and over a mile of undeveloped river frontage.

A unique project of this size demands new perspectives and ideas, and the team was selected on the basis of its impressive approach to collaboration – offering the opportunity to combine the large-scale delivery expertise necessary for such an ambitious project, with the diversity of thought and innovation possible from a broad range of specialist partners. The spirit of partnership and openness to different views that the team have was evident in their approach to the competition process; and will provide a strong platform for engaging with the local community and broader stakeholders to ensure that Thamesmead is a place everyone can feel at home.   

Established design industry leaders in architecture – Alison Brooks, Marc Koehler and Carl Turner – will bring some of the smartest innovation in the design of homes and living neighbourhoods. ‘Living in the Landscape’ and natural resilience will be enabled by West 8 and Schulze + Grassov who offer world beating skills in public realm and integrated landscape design. Sitting across everything the team do will be an active approach to engagement with the local community developed with Soundings. 

Of the proposed core team, 12 are SMEs, ten employ less than 30 people and five are microbusinesses employing less than ten people. Three are based outside the UK and are industry-leaders pushing boundaries in innovation and placemaking in northern and western Europe. 

At the centre of the team’s approach is the idea that communities evolve from existing places and relationships, and at the heart of their philosophy is the need to understand, build on, and grow the social capital that already exists at Thamesmead. This will help ensure that Thamesmead Waterfront becomes a natural extension to and of Thamesmead, whilst also being an attractive and welcoming place to newcomers from near and far. 

Peabody Executive Director Thamesmead, John Lewis, says: “Throughout this process, the team presented a compelling vision of what a fantastic place the Waterfront can become. Offering a range of diverse perspectives and expertise, they share our commitment to making the most of the amazing natural environment, and offered some really interesting insight into what makes successful places work. 

“We now have an opportunity for genuine place-making with cultural curation, leisure, connectivity, sustainability and wellbeing at the forefront of our thinking. Putting people first, we want to create a wonderful new mixed-use town centre for Thamesmead, with an approach that complements the wider regeneration of the town. 

“With the right transport connections, including a DLR river crossing, the Waterfront project can also create thousands of new homes and jobs and help drive the capital’s recovery post pandemic.” 

Bek Seeley, Managing Director of Development for Lendlease in Europe, says: “We believe the local community deserve the best expertise available and that the winning team brings together a wealth of knowledge to work on a project with some very unique characteristics. Their role will involve serious consideration of how Thamesmead Waterfront will evolve over the future decades, and how we need to meet the needs of both the existing and the future communities that will make the area their home. Critically the team selected starts as we mean to go on, embracing diversity and ensuring that everyone is able to contribute”  

Jason Prior, Prior + Partners, says: “We are thrilled that our team has been chosen to develop the vision and masterplan for this remarkable site. Thamesmead Waterfront has the potential to exemplify the best of what can be achieved when communities are conceived around strong principles of social value and natural resilience. The selection process has allowed our diverse team to explore this potential through a challenging dialogue with Peabody and Lendlease and we are delighted to have been selected to help shape the next stage in Thamesmead’s evolution.”  

Sowmya Parthasarathy, Arup, says: “The aspiration for Thamesmead Waterfront demands that we rewrite old rules on how to design and deliver a truly resilient and sustainable place. I am thrilled to be bringing Arup’s integrated design expertise to a project that will set the standard for how net-zero neighbourhoods will look, feel, and function. We look forward to working with Peabody, Lendlease, local residents, and our creative team to help shape a shared vision for Thamesmead.”