DescriptionOn the junction of Vauxhall Bridge and Millbank in the City of Westminster a high-quality residential apartment block called Riverwalk. Designed by Stanton Williams Architects and completed in 2016, this award-winning development has fantastic views across the River Thames to Vauxhall, across the road to Tate Britain and the other way to Bessborough Gardens- one of the many green oasis in London, this one provided by the Crown Estate jointly with Wimpey Homes, and managed by the City of Westminster.
This site has history going back over 3000 years. The oldest discovered site of a bridge anywhere in the world was found just a couple of hundred yards away, probably crossing to an island mid-river. The area until the embankment was built was marshy with many rivulets and islands, so it is unlikely that the bridge would have crossed the complete river.
The River Thames was central to the economy of London for centuries, and innumerable wharves lined the riverbanks. Once the Thames was restricted by the embankment walls, the river ran faster, and boat building and dismantling moved upstream. Baltic Wharf, and later Bridge Wharf was established on the Riverwalk site, Henry Castle & Son dismantling wooden ships of the line of the Royal Navy, and building barges for use on the river. Gradually the ship breaking wound down and the site became a timber yard, and then in 1913 the site was sold to a construction company. The large house on the site was retained by Castles as a Head Office until it was bombed in 1941.
After the war, the site was developed in the 1960’s as an office block with a public garden and remained in this use until it was demolished in 2012. Having such a prime location, residential use was an obvious choice, but the City of Westminster insisted on retaining and revitalizing the public realm with landscaping and tree planting prominent on the plans.
Working with BHSLA Landscape Architects, GreenBlue Urban suggested that the new London Plane trees planted on the corner of Millbank and Vauxhall Bridge needed excellent uncompacted soil volumes, and in view of the need to cope with maintenance traffic, the StrataCell soil cell system was specified. These trees planted in a joint pit, maximising the access to soil volume and allowing shared rooting space has meant that only four years on, these fine specimens look as though they have been there for generations.
Working with the inevitable below ground constraints of utilities and below ground structures, the GreenBlue Urban ArborSystem has yet again provided the necessary solution to give residents, workers and visitors to London canopies for centuries on this exposed and prominent site.