Housing Design Awards 2015 Finalist

Barchester Street

Poplar

The scheme comprises 115 new affordable homes on the site of former industrial buildings in the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area. The Conservation Area boundary was drawn round the site to preserve the industrial heritage of the area and this influenced the design and material choices for the scheme. The new homes are part of Canary Wharf Group’s affordable housing commitment for Newfoundland tower, which will be part of its new development phase.

The site was occupied by a 1939 factory building and a 1956 warehouse which were both last in use as a document storage facility. Three new buildings and retained elements of the existing buildings will enclose a new communal yard space. A new six storey building will replace the former warehouse building with the new street facing elevations composed primarily of brickwork which include recessed stretchers and cross motifs which reference the existing Festival inspired architecture on the adjacent Lansbury estate with white concrete bandings echoing elements of the demolished warehouse as well as the existing lintels of the factory building. The same brick is used throughout the facade with two different coloured mortars which change the appearance of the brick from light to dark. The difference brick mortars are used to form a two storey plinth that punches up to form a sawtooth on the tallest element linking both buildings to the retained factory building. Projecting balconies in metalwork colour matched to the zinc facade give the new residents long views towards Barlett Park.

A new four and five storey volume is set within the existing walls of the factory. The distinctive saw-tooth profile of the factory is echoed in the new roof profile as a series of spines that successively step up from Balladier Walk and Barchester Street clad in distinctive bronze zinc. Double height duplex apartments have been created within these sawtooth spines creating spacious new homes for the new residents. The retained elements of the factory facade have been carefully restored and altered to allow the new homes set within them to have a unique character and enhance the appearance of the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area. A new link building creates a threshold to the central landscaped yard and continues the brick plinth into the courtyard. The courtyard elevations above this plinth continue with bronze coloured zinc running diagonally across the facade and projecting balconies creating a striking exterior.

Team: DP9 (Planning) / SDG (Transport) / EB7 (Rights to Light) / MG Partnership (M&E) / Walsh Group (Structural Engineer) / Buro Happold (Accessibility) / Sandy Brown (Acoustic) / Arup-Fire (Fire)

Status: Complete

"A challenging site, specifically included within the conservation area, and a challenging brief that required the retention of elements of an existing warehouse buildings has resulted in a piece of residential architecture that challenges the norm for socially rented housing."

Luke Dewey, Senior Associate