Hanif Kara, former Design Indaba Speaker and co-founder of structural engineering firm AKT II, bridges the engineering and architectural disciplines through what he refers to as ‘design engineering’. With work across the globe in collaboration with some of the world’s most celebrated architects – such as Zaha Hadid Architects, Heatherwick Studio and Adjaye Associates – his innovative approach enables lofty visions to come to life.
One of the firm’s his most recent commissions, The Tide, is still underway. This multiphase public space intervention in London includes a five-kilometre-long, partly elevated walkway that connects public spaces in Greenwich Peninsula. The project is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (lead architects) in collaboration with Neiheiser Argyros. The Tide fuses art and leisure, with the aim of transforming a former industrial area into a series of appealing outdoor spaces and a promenade.
In a merging of built elements, art and landscaping, the walkway comprises a series of islands connected by footbridges that span roads, plazas and other public spaces. Each island provides a point to pause - both at a high level and on the ground with sculptural supports creating passages and simultaneously serving as public artwork. These pause areas offer interludes across the urban landscape, inviting pedestrians to stop, linger and appreciate different viewpoints of the city
As a vehicle for public interface, The Tide also lends itself to art installations. Liz West Studio’s Hundreds and Thousands recently turned the area into an interactive living work. Commissioned by Greenwich Peninsula to create the installation, Liz West’s piece wraps 700 metres of the walkway’s glass balustrades, creating a ribbon of rainbow colour.
“The experience of seeing my work as you move along and around The Tide gives visitors a kaleidoscopic and rich visual experience that will hopefully trigger feelings of wellbeing and joy,” West says.
Hundreds and Thousands also pays homage to The Tide’s geography and proximity to the Greenwich meridian line by behaving as a sundial. It allows people to see the changing light depending on the time of day and season. The multiple reflective glass surfaces adorned with jewel-like multicolours reflect people and the surroundings, encouraging and promoting movement around The Tide, and making a work that feels like it ‘belongs’.
Engineering the future with Hanif Kara.
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Jan Friedlein, Charles Emerson