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Architecture & Water: Part 1 - A river runs through it

In the first of a series of three films exploring the connection between architecture and water, Ellis Woodman takes a journey through London’s waterways with architects, developers, urbanists and thinkers

From The Architectural Review: How is the potent and rapidly changing relationship between architecture and water affecting the city and all of us? Architecture critic, Ellis Woodman explores with leading architects, developers and urban thinkers the challenges and opportunities presented by rivers and canals and asks if engineers and property developers now wield the key creative power in shaping the city’s relationship with its rivers? Does climate change present an urgent need to reconsider our rivers? Could floating bike lanes and parks provide to urban problems?

This is the first of a series of three films exploring the relationship between architecture and water.

Part two: Gentrification machine — is the water a force that will unlock an increasingly unaffordable city or one that will fuel a trend of gentrification and displacement?

Part three: Water park — how can a river become more than a transport route and pretty view? Through recreation, interaction and radical ideas such as floating parks, amphibious houses and new public wetlands can the river become a living part of the city?


The Old Royal Naval College is hosting a series of debates on the connection between water and architecture which accompanies this documentary. There are three debates each exploring a different aspect of architecture’s connection to the river.

Living on the River, 23rd October, 18:30 - 20:00
Chaired by Phineas Harper, The Architectural Review

Building by the River, 21st November, 18.30 - 20.00
Chaired by Rowan Moore, The Observer

Working on the River, 19th December, 18.30 - 20.00
Chaired by Ellis Woodman, The Architectural Review

To book tickets and find out more about this series of debate visit the Old Royal Naval College Website:


A co-production of The Architectural Review and the Old Royal Naval College

Presenter: Ellis Woodman
Director: Phineas Harper
Production Co-ordinator: Manon Mollard
Location Assistant: Ben Chernett
Music: ‘Spiders’ by Buffalo Ink (

Special thanks:
Lesley Booth
William Palin
Peter Beard_LANDROOM
Cityscape 3D
Joel Blackledge

Shot on a Canon 5D Mark iii

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