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Could Royal Docks host a grand prix?

14 Mar 23 A group of engineers and architects have produced a plan to enable a London grand prix to be held in the Royal Docks.

The vision of Dar and The LDN Collective
The vision of Dar and The LDN Collective

The concept extends the width of the existing 10-metre embankment by 20 metres for a length of 2.7km along the Royal Victoria and Royal Albert Dock embankment.

The widened embankment would run from ExCeL exhibition centre to the University of East London, creating 48,140 sqm of prime waterfront land.

The designers envisage the water’s edge being activated by a series of floating modules, combining to provide further space along the embankment edge and 70,790 sqm for perhaps hotels and restaurants.

Under the plan, the embankment’s linear park could be disassembled for two weeks of the year to reveal a Formula 1-grade motor racing track underneath, while floating units would be reconfigured to provide spectator facilities.

The idea has come from Lebanese consulting engineer Dar Al-Handasah and a London consultancy called The LDN Collective.

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 “This vision could do for the Royal Docks what the Olympics did for Stratford and the Lea Valley,” said Max Farrell, owner of The LDN Collective. “By extending the promenade we are creating a flexible eventscape and by creating floating commercial uses we are making the proposal financially viable and deliverable, without the taxpayer footing the bill.”

He added: “We know that Formula 1 is interested in hosting a Grand Prix here and we have designed a track that meets all of their requirements and regulations. We have discussed the proposals with the GLA, who are developing a water strategy and planning framework with Newham Council, which we hope to align with. With or without F1, these proposals are transformational and would be a huge boost to London and the UK globally, as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Dan Horner, director of urban design at Dar in the UK, said: “It’s apparent for anyone visiting the Royal Docks that the water is underutilised, but has huge untapped potential. We have approached this large, contained and clean body of water as a platform which can be reconfigured using floating modules, creating a new family orientated leisure and events destination.

“Although floating buildings, structures and spaces are a relatively new concept within the UK, there is a growing number of precedents, notably in Europe, which have been highly successful and cost effective. We believe this is an exciting and viable solution for activating the Dock, making it a world class destination.”

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