Rivers are the historical life-blood of our cities. At Buro Happold we ensure the opportunities of riverside developments are fully realised in a way that doesn’t compromise the environment or local communities.

For centuries rivers have provided a source of food, water, power, commerce, transport, irrigation, recreation and leisure and where they haven’t existed in their natural form they have been created in the form of canals.

Following the explosion of mass automation, many cities turned their back on the river, treating it as a threat in the case of flood risk, or as a handy receiver for sewage, industrial pollutants and other waste. In the UK, and elsewhere across the globe, the value provided by our rivers decreased through the post-war decades, but this is a process that is happily reversed in recent years.

Buro Happold have created a number of schemes, on a range of scales from waterspace masterplans and waterfront developments, to specific structures, that enhance the health of rivers and the value they can provide to our communities.

Our team not only has extensive experience across the UK but we also have an in-depth knowledge of river systems across the globe, including the Middle East where the deterioration and potential rehabilitation of wadis is very similar in strategic process to that of fluvial river systems.

We are able to apply high levels of technical expertise in hydrology, hydraulic modelling, flood risk management, channel geomorphology, scour and channel stability analysis to ensure that often conflicting criteria such as flood risk and commercial development are managed to ensure that opportunities and constraints provided by river front development are balanced in an integrated and sustainable way. As well as our technical expertise, an important element of our service offering is the long-established relationships that we have with key stakeholders that include the Environment Agency, Canal & River Trust and local user groups.

These relationships are key to ensuring that schemes are developed in a way that balances the needs of all users and mean that we can provide additional value by smoothing the process of procuring the necessary consents, licences and approvals.

Our expertise in river engineering includes:

  • Watercourse rehabilitation and naturalisation
  • River bank protection
  • Hydraulic control structures
  • Hydro-generation
  • River walls and quays
  • Navigation and canal engineering
  • Ecological enhancement
  • Geomorphology and water quality
  • Assessments in accordance with Water Framework Directive (WFD)
  • Consents, licenses and approvals

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