London Bridge City Pier

Marks Barfield Architects proposal for the London Bridge City Pier achieves that fine balance between delight and functional efficiency.  It aims to create a unique destination in an exceptional location on the River Thames as well as operating smoothly as an effective, totally accessible, transport hub. 

In a crowded area of London deficient in green space the upper deck level is envisioned as a green oasis, a pocket park attracting everyday users and visitors alike to enjoy a moment of tranquillity with unrivalled views of the river and London’s landmarks  and an exceptional food offer – a mini Borough Market-on-Thames. A welcome addition to borough market – which attracts 4.5 million visitors a year.

In the context of a climate crisis the intention is also to make this new pier one of the most sustainable on the river in terms of both operational and embodied carbon.

The key principles of the design are to:-

  • Deliver an efficient, safe and enjoyable experience for river passengers
  • Create a smooth, safe and comfortable working environment for the boat operators
  • Enable full and equal accessibility for all users
  • Become one of the most sustainable piers on the river
  • Create a compelling destination at upper deck level – a pocket park with an exceptional food offer – a mini Borough Market-on-Thames.


Accessibility for all

Our approach proposes the use of an integrated ramp formed delivering passengers centrally to the berthing position and providing step free access such that all passengers share the same route. In addition to the ramp a 13 person lift is provided in the centre of the pontoon along with stair access at each end of the deck.


We propose to construct the pier superstructure above the river level “tub” completely from sustainably sourced, low embodied carbon, structural timber. This consists of timber columns at lower deck level, a cross laminated timber deck, and simple timber structural “trees” and roof elements at the upper deck level.  We understand that the existing pier is a reused grain barge which has come to the end of its long and useful life.  In that same spirit, in order to minimise the need for new raw materials and to minimise waste, it is our intention to carefully study all the other materials of the existing pier to see if there is any possibility for affordable, reuse or upcycling

Additionally, we propose to locate 500m sq. of photovoltaic panels on the roof. This will provide all the pier’s electrical needs plus 50% extra, making it carbon positive. 50,000kwh/y is produced with usage of approximately 25,000 kwh/y.

The upper deck area will be planted with robust, low maintenance climbing plants and hedges to create the green oasis and provide a level of biodiversity.

The innovative bowstring truss canting brow uses lightweight structural principals to deliver a design that uses 45% less steel than conventional truss designs.