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Caxton

Faraday Works

2016 - present

A compelling exemplar for the future of London’s industrial land.

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A compelling exemplar for the future of London’s industrial land.
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Strategy

Faraday Works forms part of the first phase of the Charlton Riverside Masterplan, which sits within a corner of the Westminster Industrial Estate in Greenwich, South London. Whilst today the site is characterised by neglected warehouse buildings, it was once part of the wider Siemens Brothers’ estate which employed over 6,000 people. It is this rich provenance and purpose that provides us and our clients, U + I and Galliard Homes, with a great yet challenging opportunity to create a pioneering new community.

Location:
London, UK
Client:
U+I Group Plc
Galliard Homes
Role:
Urban Designer, Architect and Landscape Architect
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The original site
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The site as it stands today

The truly mixed use development will focus on employment-led regeneration, creating around 900 jobs. Activating the ground floor of existing and proposed buildings will be a programme of workshop spaces, cafés, and exhibition areas, along with an innovative stacked factory and a new business incubator. A diversity of activities ensures optimal use during the day and night, improving the quality and vibrancy of the site, whilst allowing existing neighbouring businesses to continue to operate. Sitting alongside the workspaces are 492 new homes, all designed to be suitable for this transitional industrial location and ensure accessibility and affordability for as many people as possible.

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Our vision for Faraday Works

Our role at Faraday Works includes setting the overarching area framework, and we’re also leading the detail design for the public realm as well as six of the buildings: Eastmoor Building, Faraday Yard Building, Faraday Building, Wire Workshops, Faraday Factory and Unity House. To enrich the architectural proposals, we’ve collaborated with Coffey Architects who are designing the Junction Box and Telephone Buildings. Together with our clients, we’re crafting a place where legacy and purpose are at the heart, and we have made sure that this feeds into every part of our proposal for positive change.

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Specificity

Our detail designs for Faraday Works include a new innovative stacked industrial factory, Faraday Factory. Here, the stacked and contained volume intensifies the traditional provision of commercial space and allows it to sit comfortably adjacent to residential uses. Consultation with industry experts such as the CBRE has led to the evolution of this vertical mixed-industrial typology, providing versatile floorplates, optimum floor heights and a holistic servicing strategy with the aim to accommodate a variety of industrial uses including light manufacturing, logistics, storage, distribution, makers spaces and many more.

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Though undoubtedly enriched by context, the Faraday Factory’s appearance and materially also seeks to reinterpret and evolve the industrial vernacular language, drawing inspiration from contemporary exemplar examples.

Another major cornerstone of the scheme is the Wire Workshops – the oldest building on site – which will be restored to accommodate a new innovation hub that will feature specialist facilities, studios, and workspace. A new public event space, heritage exhibition and a café will also be created, featuring a triple-height lobby and roof extension to provide an entrance to the Wire Workshops.

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Residential design has been carefully considered to mitigate the any implications of the surrounding industrial activities, with new residents at Faraday Works offered a range of residential typologies, in a combination of new build and refurbished industrial buildings, in which to make their home.

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The Eastmoor building offers a contemporary interpretation of an industrial conversion; with large crittall style windows overlooking the park and lower floors are inhabited by split level townhouses with large floor to ceiling heights. At upper levels, a faceted façade angled towards the river is an alternative to the square rooms associated with contemporary residential design. The Faraday Yard building is a traditional apartment building, whilst The Faraday Way building provides deck access living, giving the opportunity to foster a sense of community.

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We’ve chosen to celebrate the industrious history of the site throughout the public realm, favouring the use of industrial materials such as in-situ concrete or natural stone setts. Within the curtilage of each new building however will be a much softer verdant layer of landscape. This strategy heightens the feeling of coming home, with many homes benefiting from views out into generously planted central podium gardens. These gardens offer a private oasis for residents to relax, play and socialise in. A series of public art installations will add an element of play, whilst also acting as way finders throughout the site.

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Sustainability

Faraday Works presents a compelling exemplar for the future of London’s industrial land. One that safeguards a significant industrial heritage, demonstrates the potential co-location of homes and industry and achieves the intensification of industrial land. This is an innovative solution to a very contemporary challenge and offers a truly mixed use vision for Charlton Riverside and more broadly for the future of London’s Industrial land.

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The transformation of the site into a mixed use development has a far more long term sustainability than had it remained for manufacturing alone. We have, through our exhaustive design process over three years, reviewed 24 different iterations of a solution for the site responding to its history, its topography, its surroundings, the views of the local communities and the directions of the Royal Borough’s planning officers and advisors from the GLA.

Our approach has been imbued with a reverence for history with a clear understanding of what we need to do to build a sustainable future, with the outcome respectful, learned and viable. Alongside new workplaces that will create up to 900 jobs, we’ve also introduced 492 homes to a place where currently there is none; a critical mass of people that will help build a destination along the Thames Path and provide a catalyst for sustained economic growth in the wider area.

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The development incorporates new green technologies such as site wide air source heat pumps aligning with principles as set out in the London Plan. Faraday Works will also deliver substantial improvements to the Thames Path along the riverside and to existing cycle networks to Greenwich and Woolwich, alongside improved pedestrian routes to stations and buses. Bowater Road will become largely car-free while a fully pedestrian and cycle-only zone will be created between the restored Junction Box and Wire Workshops to improve integration across the site. Open public realm and courtyards between blocks will provide access and circulation, including new routes to the adjoining park, with new trees and planting along Faraday Way providing a buffer between the logistics sheds of the wider industrial estate.

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