There was a public outcry when Hermitage Wharf came up for re-development and the planners were persuaded to schedule some of the riverside land as a public garden. A design competition was held and many interesting schemes were submitted. But sufficient money to build them was not forthcoming and the result was a low-cost landscape design of indifferent quality. It adjoins a copper clad, high-quality residential development designed by Andrew Cowan Architects at Hermitage Wharf, and fronts the river with an appallingly empty and dead landscape design.
The developers would have been better advised to commission a really exciting south-facing, riverside public garden to fronting the buildings (it would have increased the value of their development) and the planning authority (London Borogh of Tower Hamlets) were wrong to allow this to happen. Before completing the design, the landscape architects should have been sent to visit the floodable riverside terracing at Varanassi in India. Varanassi has the best waterfront landscape architecture in the world.
Hermitage Wharf, 22 Wapping High Street, LOndon E1
Low-cost landscape architecture at Hermitage Wharf Memorial Garden
Brilliant landscape architecture at Varanasi (Benares). The water level rises over the steps during the monsoon period.
Good architecture and terrible landscape architecture at Hermitage Wharf
The sign at Hermitage Wharf reads : 'Danger -No Access to foreshore - Deep water and fast currents - Shear drop - Steps slippery when wet.' What would they say about Varanasi? Or the White Cliffs of Dover?