Sprunt was appointed by Kier London to provide Architectural Services for Newlon Housing Trust on this site in Tower Hamlets. While the site has planning approval for a mixed use scheme, it was the client’s intention to design and build a new scheme which maximizes the potential of the site, provides state-of-the-art accommodation and a place to be proud of while minimizing the cost of construction.
Requirements were to develop proposals for a minimum of 211 affordable homes (235 were achieved) which matches the mix of units for which Newlon have funding, together with around 2,080 sqm of retail and commercial accommodation according to the mixed use nature of the site. Further to a thorough site analysis and massing exercises, we have explored the possibility of increasing the housing accommodation on the site in order to re-instates a variety of tenure’s types (affordable rented, affordable shared ownership and open market) as well as guarantying a better cost / sale balance which will help us to provide for the high standards of the scheme.
This scheme consecrates a new step for the area and aims at expressing its rich mixture of people, activities and typologies.
Architecturally, the design driver is radically organic and playful. The elemental concept is based on the superposition of four layers which interact between each other:
The Plinth: The base of the scheme is a strong but fluid element which wraps the overall development and provides the human scale and street frontage. Its curves are symbolic of the waves from the boats which supplied London over the years, waves of immigrations arriving in the area and historical waves such as the Battle of Cable Street. It is the public face of the project. The Horizontal Mass: The configuration of this mass has been worked inside-out and out-inside to provide the best accommodation for the future residents and create a “snail” effect which address surrounding massing and includes the Adult Centre. This is the residential dimension of the development. The Vertical Mass: The focal point of the scheme deliberately sized to be powerful and act as a bill board for the final layer below. This element is considered as public due to its impact on the overall area. It adopts the graphics of the plinth in order to provide unity to the whole. Note: the two layers above are recessed from the plinth so that they appear at the background from the street and the courtyard, leaving the waves and Mass’ Deconstructors to take the front stage. The Mass’ Deconstructors: Glass is used in this development as an historical reference and demonstration according to the glass work activities which had taken place here for Centuries.
The top of the tower has been designed with a curved roof which acts as the lighthouse, with the resulting roof space incorporated into the top floor penthouses.
The proposals seek to address a strong ground floor “plinth” related to the free form higher elements.