October 2014

Writing in the October 2014 edition of the Architectural Review the leading architecture critic and Future of the Thames debates curator, Ellis Woodman, says: “what the collective effect of the current wave of investment will have both on the physical shape of the city and on its attractiveness as a place to live are questions yet to be subjected to much public scrutiny…. It is tempting to ask whether most Londoners are even aware of the radical transformation to which their city now seems to have committed itself.”

It is with the aim of sparking this long overdue debate that the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) has got together with Woodman for three keynote debates on the future of the Thames. The debates take on the issues of Living on River (23 October 2014), Building on the River (21 November 2014) and Working on the River (19 November 2014). Woodman has assembled an impressive range of contributors from leading architects and planners to community activists and people who have made the choice to live and work on the river.

LIVING ON THE RIVER will be chaired by Phineas Harper, Assistant Editor of the Architectural Review who himself lives in a boat on the Thames. He will be joined on the panel by the independent architect and planner, Anna Versteeg; Jonas Lencer, Studio Director of de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects, which among its current portfolio of projects has a development of residential properties on the site of the iconic Battersea Power Station; John Roberson, founder and leader of JRA, a practice whose extensive portfolio includes delivery of new buildings and sensitive restoration and redevelopment of historic places; Lee Wilshire, Urban Planner, Designer and Boater; and Anne Lydiat who for the past eleven years has been living and working as an artist onboard a ship.

BUILDING ON THE RIVER will be chaired by The Observer Architecture critic, Rowan Moore. Panellists are Richard Upton, Chief Executive of The Cathedral Group, one of the UK’s leading property regeneration developers which is currently delivering the Modern Wharf and Trafalgar Works projects on the waterfront in Greenwich, and The Deptford Project; Eric Sorensen, former Chief Executive of the London Docklands Development Corporation and of the London Thames Gateway project; David Kohn of David Kohn Architects, which was commissioned by Creative Process and Design for London to consult local stakeholders and develop tools for steering the development of Deptford Creekside; and Roo Angell, a leader of Sayes Court Garden Community Interest Company, which has campaigned to preserve the Deptford site of John Evelyn’s garden and the birthplace of the National Trust as the area is being developed.

WORKING ON THE RIVER will be chaired by Ellis Woodman. Joining him on the panel will be Professor Mark Brearley, of CASSCities who among his many projects initiated the Mayor's work focused on London's high streets, led research on their significance, and steered the programmes; Tom Holbrook, co-founder of 5th Studio, an acclaimed spatial design agency, working across the fields of architecture, urban design, infrastructure and landscape; and the community archaeologist, Michael Webber, who has played a central role in the Thames Archaeological Survey.

The Future of the Thames debates are the first events in the ORNC’s new Architecture for All programme, an initiative devised by Conservation Director, Will Palin. Tickets for the debates priced £10 (£5 concessions) per event from the ORNC.

A number of short films with contributions from speakers and panel chairs will be available to view at www.ornc.org and www.architecturalreview.com

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