In the heart of London, on the south side of the Thames downstream of Tower Bridge, lie the capital’s only floating gardens, devised by architects Nicholas Lacey & Partners. Known as Tower Bridge Moorings at Downings Roads– or Garden Barge Square – they offer a sustainable way of living for a community of more than one hundred adults and children, and a shelter for wildlife on the river.
Converted Thames lighters, the one-time workhorses of the river, provide brightly lit residential studio spaces. On the roofs, communal gardens serve as walkways leading to berths for individual classic barges. The ebb and flow of the tide and the washes from passing vessels add to the excitement afloat. The light changes from moment to moment, and no day is ever the same.
It is also the home for ‘The ArtsArk’ – a floating platform for a variety of events and performances.
The community’s aim is to exist happily together in this little microclimate, keeping the river alive and conserving and continuing its maritime history.
The gardens have in past years been awarded gold for the best community gardens by Southwark Council. They open their gates to the public twice a year in the summer for charity, both for the NGS, National Gardens Scheme and for the London Garden Squares Open Weekend.