Maxim Sas: High Tide (for Change)


London is a world city. It is simultaneously expanding and contracting, growing ever-outwards – and upwards – yet on the brink of divorce from the neighbouring continent. The next generation of designers must deliver fresh thinking to tackle issues that range from the scale of the street to global climate change. We asked pioneering graduates from the LSA how they’d adapt London to ensure that it is inclusive of its citizens, integrated with nature and fit for the future.

Concerned about the depletion of London’s stock of public spaces over the past 30 years, this proposal combines public space and green infrastructure by introducing a decentralised network of small hydroelectric plants and the emerging technology of tidal lagoons along the publicly owned foreshore of the River Thames.

A 150m-long concrete lagoon structure transforms the Surrey Docks in Rotherhithe, bridging over the river edge to create strategic routes, with pedestrians and cyclists offset from the building within the 30m width. The historic London typology of an ‘adelphi’ is updated for the present day, including an open public space at ground level and mixed-use programme above.

The proposal celebrates the history of the Thames and creates manageable bodies of water to interact with. The hydroelectric plant network contributes to the London Plan policies for sustainability and complements better river transport services that support healthier streets. This new type of public infrastructure can help society be more open to and aware of the needs of the environment and each other.