Thames Clippers were first established in 1999 and have since established themselves as a vital and well used mode of transport for London. Having grown from a single boat and limited passengers, the business now boasts a fleet of thirteen boats and nearly thirteen million passengers. Such is the success of the river transport service, which is now co-owned with AEG Europe, the demand has outstripped the ability of the existing infrastructure to cope with the number and frequency of boat movements.
Stuart Forbes Associates was appointed to design an upgrade or re-build of existing facilities as well as a new pier on the Southbank in place of the current Festival Pier. The pier head building and pontoon were to be developed to enable a fast river boat service to travel directly to the O2, being part of a complement of services which were mutually beneficial to the passenger and audience.
The proposed designs are for a dynamic, masted structure which suspends the majority of the building on two principal legs, which minimises the impact of building on the river bed and alterations to the river wall.
In addition to the function of passenger services the building also has a bar and fine dining function which floats high above the river bank over the ticketing hall, thus maintaining the highly valued cross river views from the south bank and festival hall directly behind the building.