Located in a prominent position, the new Blackfriars pier faces south towards Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge and commands impressive views at this stretch of the river.
The brief identified the need for a simple and elegant solution to avoid competing for attention with its larger iconic neighbours, at the same time the design team recognised the need for a visually strong form to create a legible presence.
The openness of the design provides the desired level of transparency to permit unrestricted views across the river. The expression of a thin horizontal canopy running parallel to the heavier horizontal base structure resolved the potentially conflicting demands of fitting into its environment whilst creating visually strong form, by creating a unified composition with a strong visual tension between the two elements.
The floating pontoon comprises a lower deck waiting and boarding area including a fully enclosed waiting room and an upper deck landing area where information and ticketing is available. A stair and ramp provides universal access from one level to the other. A canopy extends over the passenger occupied areas.
The pier’s exposure to the elements and day to day wear of embarking ferries and tidal changes required materials that were robust and high quality. Stainless steel was selected for many of the architectural components due to its low maintenance requirements and durability and, in particular, its resistance to corrosion.
Deceptively simple, the intent of the design was to provide for an economic and buildable construction, with robustness, durability, and low maintenance in its exposed environment. The final design solution is a form that was simply, economically, and repetitively prefabricated.