Abbott’s Wharf Housing London, Limehouse Cut Building, Architecture, Telford Homes
Abbott’s Wharf Housing : Limehouse Cut
Poplar Building, Tower Hamlets, East London, England – design by Jestico + Whiles Architects
3 Mar 2009
Limehouse cut – East London: Poplar, E14 6JL (Tower Hamlets)
Date built: 2005
Design: Jestico + Whiles
Clients: East Thames and Telford Homes (affordable housing provider and a private developer)
Number of units: 201 – 329 units per hectare
Size: The site is 6172sq meters (.61 hectares)
Funding and costs: £21m approx. capital cost
101 units for sale: Telford Homes raised this finance privately, £10.5m, through investment and bank finance. 100 units for affordable rent and shared ownership: East Thames raised this remaining £10.5m, supported by Housing Corporation grant and bank finance. Taking the opportunity of regenerating London’s East End, Abbott’s Wharf creates a sustainable development overlooking the Limehouse Cut.
The Mayor’s London Plan identifies East London and the Thames Gateway as a priority zone for future development and recommends that housing schemes rejuvenate disused industrial sites, include 50% affordable housing, incorporate other land uses and achieve high densitiesi. All of this will be necessary to achieve the government’s ambitious target of building 60% of new housing on previously developed land by 2008. Abbott’s Wharf on the Limehouse Cut canal in East London crystallise these tenets of the Mayor’s strategy, resulting in an exemplary design for a sustainable future.
The practice won the commission for the redevelopment of the Abbott’s Wharf site on the Limehouse Cut through an invited competitive interview. This was not only the first project that The practice had carried out for East Thames Housing Group but it was also our first partnering project that was a genuine joint venture between an affordable housing provider and a private developer. East Thames Housing Group and Telford Homes plc owned and developed the site jointly, with Telford Homes also acting as main contractor.
Although their end markets are different, East Thames Housing Group and Telford Homes shared a common vision for the site and this has resulted in a scheme containing four separate buildings arranged about a new mooring basin off the canal and providing 201 dwellings in a mix of affordable rent, shared ownership and private sale. However, there is no outward evidence of this spectrum of different tenures across the development in terms of the quality of design and materials or in the treatment of the external spaces. It was the deliberate intention of both clients that all of the future inhabitants of the scheme should benefit from a uniformly high standard urban development.
Our approach to the design of this scheme was to take maximum advantage of the site’s location on the end of a “wedge” between Limehouse Cut and Bartlett Park by arranging the buildings perpendicular to the canal, in a departure form the normal parallel alignment of neighbouring developments. This strategy opens up views between the canal and the park and creates a broad public plaza leading from Stainsby Road to the towpath, which is diverted, into the site and around the new basin.
The buildings are finished predominantly in pale render, with projecting steel and glass balconies that provide each dwelling with a view of the canal or the park. Contrasting panels of brightly coloured render and a controlled “random” arrangement of windows and balconies create lively elevations within an otherwise calm composition.
East Thames Housing Group and Telford Homes have been committed and collaborative clients, making this a true partnering project.
Abbott’s Wharf embraces the challenge of meeting housing demand in London in a sustainable manner. It should trigger regeneration of its immediate neighbourhood as well as contributing to the wholesale urban renaissance of the Thames Gateway area.
Abbott’s Wharf Housing images / information from Jestico + Whiles
Location: Abbotts Wharf, Limehouse, East London, England, UK
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