Greenland Passage, London SE16. UK  
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Greenland Passage August 2006
This page modified May 22, 2014

Greenland Passage is located between Greenland Dock and the River Thames, within London Docklands. The scheme combines the refinement of Danish construction with typical British housing form. It was built in 1988 by developer Islef UK (a joint venture between Islef and Christiani & Nielsen) and designer Kjaer & Richter in the London Borough of Southwark, SE16. Surrey Quays/Canada Water is the nearest local centre, which is approximately one kilometre from the development.

The development comprises 152 units: two perimeter blocks (Princes Court and Queen of Denmark Court), which include private and semi-private gardens, a terrace of townhouses with integral garages (Royal Court) and a nine-storey tower of flats (King Frederik IX Tower). Car parking is located either within one of three underground car parks, or in the integral garages along Finland Street and South Sea Street.

Greenland Passage is one of 12 developments used as case studies in 'Better Places to Live', a companion guide to a Government document (Nov. 2001), which sets out principles of good urban design. See below to see what the guide says about Greenland Passage.

Princes Court and Queen of Denmark Court are on either side of the old lock entrance to Greenland Dock. Princes Court is beside Greenland Pier and the lock entrance to South Dock. This lock is the main entrance into Greenland Dock and South Dock Marina (which is the largest marina in London). The Thames Clipper fast river bus service runs from Greenland Pier to a number of destinations including Canary Wharf and the London Eye.

Map of Greenland Passage

Google Earth image
Image taken in 2007 (copyright) from Google Earth. 51°29'44.62"N, 0° 2'1.76"W


A Better Place to Live

Greenland Passage is one of 12 developments used as case studies of good design in 'Better Places to Live by Design' a companion guide to one of the Governments Planning documents on Housing (PPG3: November 2001). Better Places to Live sets out principles of good urban design and how they may be applied. It looks at real places across the UK and the attributes of successful housing.

So what does the guide say about Greenland Passage?

A typical duplex apartment  

On space:
"The case study developments completed within the last decade (including Greenland Passage) provide space standards which match or better those commonly found in the private sector"


A typical duplex apartment

The full report can be downloaded from the government archives here. The Greenland Passage Study can be viewed by clicking here.

South Sea Street  

On access:
"There is good pedestrian access into the site via Greenland Dock. Roads are unusually wide in places and some are as much as eight metres."

"The development combines a permeable road network with two perimeter blocks which have partly enclosed courtyards"


South Sea Street

On elements of design:
"It is at the level of the individual elements that the viewer makes the connection with the human scale, an important part of achieving places of quality...
...For example, the terraced housing at Greenland Passage, Southwark, provides a useful illustration of the skilful arrangement of the elements of a facade which makes use of modelling and shadow and sets up a rhythm. The strength of the detailed design is such that it can successfully accommodate garage doors."

Thoroughness of design [click here]

Royal Court A front door to one of the townhouses

"King Frederik IX Tower at the end of Finland Street and the three-storey town-houses along Royal Court and Queen of Denmark Court help to create a sense of enclosure for the street."

"King Frederik IX Tower at the end of Finland Street and the three-storey town-houses along Royal Court and Queen of Denmark Court help to create a sense of enclosure for the street."

Finland Street    
Three-storey town-houses of Royal Court on the left and Queen of Denmark Court on the right with King Frederik IX Tower in the background.

On private, public and communal space:
"Where communal space is provided as internal gardens or courtyards in higher density housing, care needs to be taken to protect privacy and amenity to the rear of ground floor dwellings. This is achieved in parts of Greenland Passage where the ground floor of townhouses and apartments opens into a small patio area which provided a buffer to the attractive communal garden beyond."

Queen of Denmark Court garden   "The addition of planting helps to define the boundary between private and communal space and creates a degree of privacy for private patios."

"Lattice fencing fails to provide privacy to all private rear gardens. Only where mature planting has been added is there really a sense of privacy."

Queen of Denmark Court garden with private gardens enclosed by white lattice fences.

"A lack of clear distinction between public and private space has resulted in cars being parked on the footway."

The overview of Greenland Passage from the 'Better Places to Live by Design' report can be downloaded from HERE as an Adobe Acrobat document.

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Better Places to Live is priced £19.95 and is available from: Thomas Telford Publishing, The Customer Services Department, Units I/K, Paddock Wood Distribution Centre, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, Kent TN12 6UU

Drawing of elevation of development seen from Greenland Dock

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