Santiago Calatrava reveals £1bn London leisure landmark
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Santiago Calatrava reveals £1bn London leisure landmark

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It’s an honour to be designing such a piece of the fabric of London, a city I love. In designing this scheme, I have been inspired by London’s rich architectural heritage and the very special geography of the Peninsula

Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava has unveiled his £1bn landmark for London’s Greenwich Peninsula – which will have a Cathedral-like winter garden at its heart.

Peninsula Place is Calatrava’s first major scheme in London. As an architect famed for his monumental, city-shaping structures, the huge scale of the building – 1.4 million sq ft – is no surprise.

Calatrava will transform North Greenwich Underground station into a new Leisure hub for Greenwich Peninsula – the 150 acre scheme overseen by developers Knight Dragon – and the capital at large.

As well as a revamped Tube and bus station, the project also includes a theatre, cinema, bars, shops and a wellbeing hub. Three towers will house offices, apartments and hotels and a bridge – the mast cables of which form a sundial sitting on the prime meridian line – will connect the site to the River Thames.

The heart of the project, though, is the 24m-tall glazed winter garden, which is the scene that will greet those ascending from the Tube.

A 152m-long galleria of columns will form an “urban forest” supporting a movable glass cupola, which unfolds to let in the air and the weather. Above, the three towers step back to reveal a series of green terraces.

“It’s an honour to be designing such a piece of the fabric of London, a city I love,” said Calatrava. “In designing this scheme, I have been inspired by London’s rich architectural heritage and the very special geography of the Peninsula.

"I pay homage in my work to London's rich architectural heritage, to the great works of Paxton and Brunel."

He said “you can not imagine how important this project is to me,” due to his admiration for Britain’s iconic architects and engineers and “a Gothic tradition that still survives” in many of London’s historic buildings.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the fact Calatrava has agreed to work on his first major UK design “shows that London remains open to investment, trade and the very best talent from around the globe,” following last June’s Brexit vote.

“This new landmark for London and the growth of this area of London will create a new cultural district for Londoners and visitors from around the world,” he added.

Knight Dragon has previously revealed the £8.4bn Greenwich Peninsula scheme will include 15,720 new homes across seven districts, a design zone for startups, a host of leisure venues and public spaces, central London’s largest film studio and a 5km “sculptural running trail”.

The development has been masterplanned by British practice Allies and Morrison. SOM, Marks Barfield, DSDHA, Alison Brooks and Duggan Morris are also working on components of the project. ReardonSmith are the architects for the hotel in Peninsula Place.

Sammy Lee, the Knight Dragon vice-chair, said: "My ambition is for Greenwich Peninsula to be a unique cultural destination for Londoners and visitors to this global city. Calatrava's contribution will help ensure that the UK’s biggest regeneration project fulfils its potential to become just that”.

The architect is known for his ambitious, sculptural high-profile projects. His firm’s recent completions include US$4bn (€3.7bn, £3.1bn) Oculus at the World Trade Center and the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro.

He is also working on the United Arab Emirates’ falcon-inspired pavilion for the 2020 Dubai Expo and the 828m (2,700ft) Tower in Dubai, which is set to marginally overtake the Burj Khalifa as the world's tallest building when it is completed.

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Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava has unveiled his £1bn landmark for London’s Greenwich Peninsula – which will have a Cathedral-like winter garden at its heart.
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