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Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs

The most successful late-twentieth century avenue in London forms the spatial core of the Canary Wharf development. It was launched by Olympia and York, then the world's largest private property development company but the project faltered in the early 1990s. The Reichman brothers had to sell out though they later managed to buy back an interest in the company. The best view of Canary Wharf is from Greenwich Park. The central avenue was designed by one of America's most successful landscape firms: Hanna-Olin. It runs from a windswept fountain at the foot of the Canary Wharf Tower (No 1 Canada Square) to West Ferry Circus. The latter is well-conceived and very well detailed. It comprises a sheltered garden and a viewing terrace with panoramic views of Central London. The creation of a west-facing riverside terrace (between West Ferry Circus and the River Thames) was a great idea. But Laurie Olin was not retained for the design and the opportunity was botched. Walking round the development in 2004 revealed (1) some great landscape details (2) a much-better-than-average standard of urban design (3) some amazing blunders: windswept empty plazas; cold north-facing dock terraces with empty restaurant tables on hot summer days; warm south-facing dock terraces with no shops, no tables and no people; a total disregard for ecology and sustainable design; a murderous contempt for cyclists; a ghastly standard of street design; poor design of the all-important waterside outdoor space.
Photograph © Gardenvisit.com

Westferry Circus, Isle of Dogs, London, Greater London, England

All year, Daily, Open 24 hours/day

Entrance free

Visit the Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs website

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