Adelaide Wharf is a high quality, sustainable development that delivers 147 new homes and 650 sq m of workspace in Hackney, London. The scheme is a pioneering mixed tenure community that that combines sophisticated urban intervention, emerging efficient construction technologies , and the latest thinking in residential development. As such, it provides an innovative prototype for future housing schemes, particularly in regards to regeneration.
The six storey block wraps around three sides of a landscaped courtyard defining the edges of the city block. The two street elevations have coloured entrance courts lined in glossy vitreous enamel cladding panels punched through between streetscape and courtyard. These courts link into the circulation cores in each corner. Passages from street front to courtyard emphasise permeability and the impression of a collection of urban blocks rather than a singular volume.
Innovations Planning The plan of the upper residential floors is based on a rotational symmetry about the two cores, from which the corridors radiate out. The three blocks express this rotation externally in the way in which they turn the corners and their gable ends are clad. Programmatic arrangements Circulation is kept to a minimum, so that the living area is maximised and the deep plan locates all the serviced spaces along the corridor wall, with the living / sleeping spaces making maximum use of the window walls.
Social Integrity There is no visible differentiation between tenures (social housing and privately owned) and all of the homes are built and managed to the same high specification. The effort to ensure a social mix stripped of stigmatisation and hierarchy is a profound and important innovation, one that pushes ambition far beyond the mandatory concessions to affordable housing. Construction and Buildability The project developed a building system which minimised trades and interfaces while making extensive use of prefabrication to reduce time on site and improve the build quality. The project was completed with an estimated 20% reduction in overall construction costs, and delivery time. Balconies Each apartment has a balcony supported from beams at roof level which are cantilevered from the building like lifting beams on warehouses, and is clad with a coloured plane with a single fold in it, offset from the windows, staggered at each floor to produce double height gaps between them and reduce overshadowing to the living rooms below. Sustainability Rainwater from the roof is harvested for landscape irrigation, and a strip of wildflower grassland is created between the building and the canal.