Home > Architecture & Urban Design, Local Interest & History, Things I Like... > Where has the Traffic Light Tree gone?

Where has the Traffic Light Tree gone?

The old roundabout at the top of the Isle of Dogs (over on the west where Marsh wall meets Heron Quays) has just undergone extensive regeneration. The roads and junctions have all been reconfigured and it looks pretty tidy now it’s all finished, offering swathes of beautiful flowers and expensive looking street furniture. There’s even some new trees… which is always a good thing…

However one of the biggest and best trees seems to have gone missing… The iconic Traffic Light Tree sculpture (Pierre Vivant/1998) that has stood in the center of the roundabout, and welcomed us back onto the island for the last 11 years we’ve lived here, is no longer there. I for one am disappointed that the designers and engineers couldn’t find a new new home for it, at what is effectively the main entrance to the island from the west.

On the plus side, Wikipedia tells me that Tower Hamlets have promised to relocate it elsewhere on the island, so lets hope they chose a suitably prominent place where everyone can enjoy this rather excellent piece of public art

It’s staggering how quickly our bit of London has developed in the time we’ve been here (and is still developing in fact). Much of it has changed  beyond recognition: Ever higher and ever more dense blocks now dominate the central spine of the island and whilst not all bad by any means, almost all of it is very obviously driven by the voracious need to make ever more and more amounts of cash…

Take the intriguing red buildings behind the Traffic Light Tree in the photo above (taken a couple of years ago) as an example. Known as Heron Quays, they were one of the very first developments at Canary Wharf by the old London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) and consisted of  small groups of rather odd, but strangely alluring, low key/ low density buildings which reflected the cautiousness of the early developments at Canary Wharf. Sat out on columns over the dock side water they came in a fine range of 1980’s colours: blue, red, brown and purple. All but the two purple ones have now gone, leveled in the short term for the temporary park described above, but in the long term to make way for some 30+ storey Richard Rogers towers.

Progress indeed…

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  1. I . Murray
    February 21, 2014 at 21:28

    Dont worry the famous traffic light at canary wharf is back,just on the roundabout by mcdonalds

  2. Rit
    September 8, 2014 at 20:48

    what is the need or basic purpose of this traffic light tree, as the traffic signals are the low budget project and also it is less confusing as well.

    • September 9, 2014 at 11:29

      Hi Rit
      There is no need or purpose, it’s called art…
      The work is from 1998 when traffic lights looked like that…

  3. Tim
    January 5, 2015 at 12:11

    I remember all of that & photo’d it all too, amazing how short lived some of this is.
    A bit like Sci fi films & their visions of the future!

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