Floating villages are very much becoming a prominent feature in the future of architecture, they have been used around the world for centuries in countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam with more projects submitted each year to tackle the challenge of diverse housing. As a country surrounded by water, it seems almost daft not to consider the idea of creating small floating communities, whether on rivers, lakes or the ocean.
Plans were unveiled last year for Britain’s first floating village with much controversy following over the past 12 months over affordable housing and potentially becoming a ‘yuppie playground’. East London is now a sort after address with young city workers enjoying the creative flair of the local area after the regeneration for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Royal Victoria Dock was once an industrial powerhouse for more than a century , but with the Second World War radically changing Britain’s economy, the docks declined and were losing £9 million a year by 1978. Cargo that was shipped to the Royal Docks instead went to sites further downriver such as Tilbury in Essex which is now London’s principal port even though it sits 25 miles from London Bridge.
Carillion Igloo Genesis won the tender to transform the 15 acres of water at the Royal Victoria Docks, which will sit beside The Mayors £60 million Emirates Air Line project. Created to improve commuter journeys, this turned out to be another controversial project by Mayor Boris Johnson. Reported to have dwindling numbers of users and only a handful of regular commuters, critics are questioning the future of the project which, many fear the floating village will follow down the same river.
On a brighter note, 50 bespoke houses are planned with colourful exteriors and interiors built to owners specifications based on successful schemes seen on the continent such as IJburg near Amsterdam. the land was inherited by The Mayor as a result of the Localism Act and he is determined to bring more public land to the fore for development and accelerate the challenge of building homes for Londoners. The development is also under the care of London Borough of Newham which is where the controversy has been sparked. The Mayor for Newham has voiced concern about the number of affordable houses and the mix of uses between commercial and residential property and long-term jobs for local people. Boris has defended that there will be a significant proportion of low cost homes within the new development as they are working with social housing provider Genesis and City Hall. No date has been set for the first phase of completion but is expected to be in 2020.