Armada Green, Beckton, London, UK

Source: Adams & Sutherland


Adams and Sutherland

Type of Area

Large river with artificial banks

Land/water interaction


Built Environment Types

Moderately built
Moderate green

Scale of Impact


Intervention Scale (Spatial)

Moderate site

Project Types

Riverfront development
Public space regeneration
Low cost/temporary

Urban/ Rural

Urban fringe

Visibility and Openness

Partly enclosed
Party contained view

A riverside view

Armada Green is a place which is absent of buildings that looks out over a bend in the River Thames, Beckton, London, UK. This wide-open space instils a contemplative mood to the river edge. It is a place where one can appreciate the atmosphere of the river, the size, the peace and quiet and the natural river life. 

The project provides one of the few places with access to the river in the Beckton area after many years of restricted access and neglect. The place was intended as a temporary intervention that connects people to the area and forms the basis for next stage of design and development. It is flanked on one side by housing and shopping developments around a marina and a green space on the other. 

An elevated area has been created by raising the ground level to the height of the flood wall, allowing visitors a good overview of the river which was otherwise blocked. The exposed concrete surface is formed from aggregate dredged from the river, forming a direct link to the tidal riverbed and the new adjoining space. 

Timber sleepers salvaged from the railway at the nearby natural gas plant have been inlaid into the concrete floor to resemble floating logs and lead the eye to the water. Wooden benches have been added to allow contemplation of the river. The wooden sleepers have also been utilised to enclose an electricity sub-station and give the place a distinctive prominent spatial marker, that brings a human scale to this expansive place. 

The installations and geometries of the site allows service vehicles to enter but also add a unifying feature to the setting. A group of architectural students added a ladder that allows access to the lower level platform. 

This space is enjoyed by different groups, ranging from East End bikers who occasionally meet on a sunny afternoon to watch the boats, the birds or fish at high tide, to workers taking a solitary lunch break. Unfortunately, it also acts as a nocturnal hangout for teenagers who add graffiti to the place.

Perception and Meaning

Sense of place
Place identity

Health and Wellbeing


Interaction with Water


Accessibility is generally good, although site visibility is low, owing to its feature as a wide-open space, away from the main urban areas. The openness of the site naturally means that shade and shelter is lacking and the fact that little fixed equipment has been provided and the transient nature of the place means that, currently, facilities are few. It is to be expected that this will change as development of the area proceeds. 

The site is surrounded by green areas, allowing some contact with nature to occur. The openness of the space and visibility of the water facilitates an atmosphere for contemplation and the stark use of hard surfaces and materials connects to its gritty, industrial past. The lack of facilities and inaccessibility of the water obviously reduces the possibility to enjoy water sports connected to the water or the range of activities possible but there is an opportunity for fishing, strolling and cycling by the river.