INTERNATIONAL DESIGN TEAM TO DELIVER UK’S OWN HIGHLINE

The design of Camden Highline, the UK’s latest green infrastructure project, has been awarded to a team led by James Corner Field Operations, the firm behind South Park at Q.E. Olympic Park and New York High Line, in collaboration with vPPR Architects, following a two-stage international competition organised by Colander Associates. They will now work with the local community to reimagine a three-quarter mile of disused railway viaduct as a new walking route, park and open space for community activity.

Grassroots charity, Camden Highline, has today announced a winner following their five-month search for the design team who will deliver London’s new elevated park, linking Camden Town to King’s Cross. The highly sought-after prize saw a distinguished jury deliberate 76 entries and 5 shortlists before allocating the successful bid to James Corner Field Operations.

First stages will see the winning design team consult with the local community and key stakeholders to create an inclusive design plan for the ambitious new walkway and advance it through the planning process. Camden Highline will be a positive example of London’s post-Covid recovery, connecting neighbourhoods, increasing local access to green space, and enticing national and international tourists back to the capital. It will build community pride and sense of place, providing much-needed greenery and opportunities for cultural programming.

The competition winners have brought together an alliance of applied and creative specialists, including Kentish Town-based vPPR Architects, London artist Hew Locke, community consultation organisation Street Space and Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, among others. This multidisciplinary team incudes newly emerging local talent and internationally experienced firms, working together to design the Camden Highline as a considered resident amenity and ground-breaking visitor’s destination.

The charity is hosting a virtual Q&A with winners James Corner Field Operations and vPPR Architects, Camden Highline Chair and Jury member Richard Terry, CEO Simon Pitkeathley and Caroline Cole from Colander Associates on Thursday 11th March at 5:30pm. This is an opportunity for audiences to learn more about the project and the team delivering it.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Camden Highline has the potential to become a really important new asset for the local community in Camden and people across the capital. This is exactly the sort of innovative, environmentally sustainable and locally-driven project which could make an important contribution to London’s recovery from the pandemic. I really look forward to seeing these ambitious plans take shape.”

Minister for London, Paul Scully, said: “It’s fantastic to see a slice of the Big Apple coming to London, with the creation of a new park in the sky in Camden inspired by the New York High Line. The Camden Highline will not only create some welcome additional green space in central London for local residents to enjoy, but cement Camden’s place on the map as a top tourist attraction — providing a welcome boost as we build back better, and greener, from Covid-19.”

MP for Holborn & St Pancras, Keir Starmer, said: “Camden Highline is an ambitious project to bring new life to old rail infrastructure, connect our communities and increase our access to green space. This new link has the potential to support our mental and physical wellbeing, which is so important as we move forward from this pandemic. I am really looking forward to seeing the plans take shape.”

Leader of Camden Council, Georgia Gould, said: “Camden Highline is a grassroots project that has been grown and nurtured by a vibrant community of local supporters. It has been amazing to watch it go from an idea backed by locals to now seeing it secure global attention and an award-winning design team. Camden, and indeed the whole of London, will reap the social and economic rewards that this exceptional new park will bring.”

Camden Highline CEO, Simon Pitkeathley, said: “Every time we reach another milestone, I find myself thinking that I can’t believe we’ve come so far so quickly. Something that started as a bit of a mad idea is now going to be designed by a team of the finest people we could ever have hoped to work with. I cannot wait to see their ideas unfold and be put into practice.”

Lead Designer James Corner, of Field Operations, said: “Camden is such an extraordinary place, a vibrant, hip, and diverse community that will soon enjoy an amazingly unique, public green thread that ties its various communities together in ways both revelatory and transformative. We could not be more excited to work with residents and stakeholders to create a one-of-a-kind elevated park along the viaduct that speaks to the magical symbiosis of nature, culture, arts, and community.”

Tatiana von Preussen of vPPR Architects, said: “We are delighted to be selected to work with James, our design team, and the Camden community to create a really distinctive and delightful project for Camden. As local residents and business, this project is very special to us and we look forward to the next few months, generating ideas and building a wonderful sense of community, design, and aspiration for this important project.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

KEY CONTRIBUTORS
This stage of the Camden Highline has been made possible thanks to generous contributions from LabTech, the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, Camden Council and Camden Town Unlimited, who have supported the project since inception.

CAMDEN HIGHLINE
The Camden Highline is a registered charity, number 1191150. Camden Town Unlimited is a business improvement district that started the Camden Highline project in 2017. Camden Highline will run from Camden Town to King’s Cross, creating a new walking route. Although plans are still being finalised, early timelines set the first phase of Camden Highline to open in 2024. Thanks to the support of a committed network of ‘Camden Highliners’, who crowdfunded over £63,000, the charity has been able to reach this milestone.
www.camdenhighline.com

ALTERNATIVE CAMDEN
Alternative Camden is the strategic vision for Camden Town, created by an alliance of two organisations, Camden Town Unlimited and Euston Town BIDs. Their vision is focused on the concept of a ‘green loop’ — the idea of connecting communities in Camden Town, Euston and King’s Cross with innovative and creative routes, such as the Camden Highline, that benefit residents whilst attracting new visitors and boosting the local economy.

THE JURY PANEL
The Jury Panel was chaired by Richard Terry, Structural Engineer and Chair of Camden Highline. Other jurors were:

  • Alison Brooks, Principal Alison Brooks Architects, Good Growth by Design Advocate to the Mayor of London and Trustee of Open City
  • Wayne Hemingway, Hemingway Design, Good Growth by Design Advocate to the Mayor of London
  • Edward Jarvis, Urban Design Manager, London Borough of Camden
  • Indy Johar, Architect and Good Growth by Design Advocate to the Mayor of London
  • Kathryn Moore, Past President of the International Federation of Landscape Architects, Member of the HS2 Design Review Panel and Professor of Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University

The Jury Panel was assisted by a Technical Panel that included representatives from Camden Town Unlimited, Network Rail, Camden Council, and Transport for London.

JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS
James Corner Field Operations is an international landscape architecture and urban design practice with offices in London, New York, San Francisco, and Shenzhen. Their many award-winning, public realm design projects include New York’s High Line, London’s South Park at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Hong Kong’s Avenue of the Stars and Victoria Harbourfront, Seattle’s Central Waterfront, Brooklyn’s Domino Park, and Miami’s The Underline.
www.fieldoperations.net

vPPR ARCHITECTS
vPPR Architects was established in 2009 by Tatiana von Preussen, Catherine Pease, and Jessica Reynolds, and is an award-winning practice known for bold designs that bring clarity to complex sites, with a focus on community and sustainability. Located in Kentish Town, London, projects include Camden’s Horse Hospital, Wembley Olympic Way, and the RIBA Award-winning Otts Yard and Vaulted House.
www.vppr.co.uk

THE DESIGN TEAM

Design Lead: James Corner Field Operations

  • vPPR Architects
  • Piet Oudolf
  • Hew Locke
  • Street Space
  • Speirs Major
  • Tony Gee Engineering
  • AKT II
  • Rider Levett Bucknall
  • Atelier Ten
  • Pentagram
  • Authentic Futures

Transforming the disused railway between Camden Town and King's Cross into a new green artery for London.