The east side of London – and now the Thames Estuary – is transforming from a vestige of Victorian industrial Britain to being a showcase for our nation: Ebbsfleet is now the fast rail gateway from & to the European continent, the largest container port in Europe is being built at Shell Haven – and even a new major airport to complement Heathrow is being planned in the Estuary. A new urban region is also rising that could bring together Dartford, Gravesham and the retail destination of Bluewater. That new ‘city’ is almost certainly going to be called ‘Ebbsfleet’.
At its heart is an Anglican church called St Mary’s. Located on the edge of Greenhithe, its building is geographically central in Ebbsfleet, highly conspicuous and is able to be a resource and an icon of identity par excellence. Raymond Hall has been asked to design a major addition to the church building that could capture the imagination of the whole community. Conceived using a Thames maritime theme, ‘Making Waves’ – as the project is called – would use solar and ground source technology for its energy generation and would be an exemplar in sustainability. It may even embody the identity of ‘Ebbsfleet’.