BROWNFIELD REMEDIATION


On the north bank of the Thames River, between North Woolwich Road and Thames Barrier in Silvertown (on the outskirts of London, England) lies one of the finest modern parks in Britain.  The Thames Barrier Park was opened in the new millennium (2000), a regenerated formerely contaminated site that once housed timber treatment plants, petrochemical and acid works for over 150 years on the riverbank. It is a 27-acre site of inner city greenery wedged between two modern housing developments along the riverside.

French designers Alain Provost (designer of Parc Citroen in Paris) and Alain Cousseran of Group Signes teamed up with Brit architects Patel Taylor and Ove Arup to transform this former brownfield site.

A parti diagram of this landscape would be a simple rectangle sliced by a diagonal line.

What you see is a vast carpet of rolling hedgerows and lawn blanketing a space between the railway line and the silver domes (or as locals refer to them –“cockleshells”) of the Thames Barrier (the dramatic engineering structure that prevents the centre of the capital being inundated when floods of water are coming down river, and high tides advancing from the east.)

To remediate this brownfield a significant amount of the soil was hauled off, but the bulk of the materials were simply rearranged to reflect the vision of the design team. This profile was then capped with crushed concrete and a geotextile layer and topped off with imported clean soil to confirm the site's suitability for use.

Fields of wildflowers, a grid network of birches and stretching the length of the park is the largest and perhaps most modernesque sunken garden in London – known as the “Green Dock”.  This simulation of a marine dock is accessible by the public and crossed by two viewing bridges.  The planting is a tidal flow of wave-cut hedges alternating with beds of perennials such as Geranium cantabrigiense, Nepeta (catmint), Papaver (poppies) and more.
A group of local friends regularly play hide + seek in the park

Note the separate trash can for fido waste

**all photos Todd Haiman 2010