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 (229 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, we decided to adopt a neo-modernist approach which provides the opportunity to deliver clear 21th century rational statements in relation with deconstructivist punch lines. This approach is reinforced by the use of soft white and coloured rendered masses in contrast with powerfully clad volumes using dark shiny (polished composite) or matt (soft composite) finishes and sleek curtain walling and eaves made of glass and mesh on thin frames. The local public elements (square, amenity space, commercial and entrances) are treated as a democratic layer which allows for a high degree of transparency (glass and mesh grid). The high rise urban focal point adopts the lines of the grid but is clad in a mixture of glazed or composite dark panels which pixelize the elevations up to a glazed top acting as a lighthouse. The south elevation facing the Thames receives a different attention in order to differentiate the bottom half which relates to the adjacent adult centre and the upper half which creates a lively signal from The Highway, the river and the south bank. The low rise mass is treated with a soft but bright mixture of rendered coloured walls which emphasize the residential feeling while the recessed upper floors relate to the high rise and public elements. Primary colours have been logically inserted into the scheme at break points (red for the east blocks and blue for the west block) and recesses (yellow balcony areas) in order to highlight the singular elements of each elevations.