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Hackney Wick

2014 - Present

Our approach has been to recognise the importance of the existing community of artists and makers, the built heritage and the history of light industry.

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Our approach has been to recognise the importance of the existing community of artists and makers, the built heritage and the history of light industry.
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Strategy

Fish Island on the edge of Hackney Wick is a place full of potential. It occupies a strategic position between established communities in Tower Hamlets and the biggest and most exciting urban regeneration project in Europe. We have been working with the developer Anderson Group on two canalside sites, Carpenters Wharf and Swan Wharf, both of which occupy key locations along the Lee Navigation Canal, known locally as the Hackney Cut. Carpenters Wharf is next to the bridge connecting Fish Island to the Olympic Park, and Swan Wharf is an important marker for those coming onto the island from the south.

Location:
London, UK
Client:
Anderson Group
Role:
Carpenters Wharf - Architect and Landscape Architect. Swan Wharf - Architect and Landscape Architect
Status:
Carpenters Wharf - Completed 2018. Swan Wharf - Planning
Collaborators:
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Carpenters Wharf (North) and Swan Wharf (South) sit along the Lee Navigation Canal, facing Olympic Park
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Carpenters Wharf
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Swan Wharf

The ongoing development and evolution of Fish Island has been underpinned and driven by the creation of the neighbouring Olympic Park and the Olympic Legacy Plan. Our approach has been to recognise the importance of the existing community of artists and makers, the built heritage and the history of light industry. We acknowledge everything – and everyone – already here, adding to a well-defined sense of identity and reinforcing the energy this generates.

Specificity

Carpenters Wharf gets its name from the furniture makers who once occupied the site. The ground level hosts a flexible exhibition space, artists’ studios and a café, and above these sit characterful and mostly dual-aspect apartments, many of which look onto Queen Elizabeth Park. The scheme is broken into a clustered family of three distinct forms, with 45 homes over five storeys organised around a light-filled central atrium. This was key in introducing dual aspect apartments, which initially was not possible due to the narrow depth of the site.

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Carpenters Wharf
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Carpenters Wharf

The materials used on Carpenters Wharf reflect the industrial past of the site with a strong emphasis on defining large volumes along the canal side that make a visual link to the existing warehouses. A bespoke oak timber frame provides further interest alongside the canal and frames the ground floor exhibition and café spaces, with a new decked area providing external public space and new moorings for the Canal River Trust.

Carpenters Wharf

Our proposals for Swan Wharf build upon the historical legacy of Fish Island. Through innovative design they will provide a new chapter in the use of the site providing new workspace to complement the existing offer, and much needed high quality riverside residential.

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Swan Wharf - Our vision proposes the transformation of the site from underutilised commercial uses to a mixed use place
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Swan Wharf - Current site

The site contains existing buildings of varying degrees of heritage value. However, it is currently under utilised, with much of the existing building in urgent need of restoration having fallen into a state of disrepair. Our vision facilitates the retention and enhancement of the heritage buildings of greatest merit, an extension and a new mixed-use building including affordable workspace and 46 new homes.

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Swan Wharf - the set-back to the Warehouse Building and Courtyard Building are designed to maintain a consistent scale and form with the neighbouring schemes, including Bream Street, a residential-led development by AHMM which is nearing completion (seen to the right of Swan Wharf in the image above)
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Swan Wharf - The retained heritage façade of the Stable Building is activated by glazing the preserved existing openings
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Swan Wharf - Our vision aims to capture and celebrate the atmosphere of the flexible yard space that is currently found on the site. This space is used for outdoor seating and events by an adjacent bar

Sustainability

At Carpenters Wharf our aim was to preserve the well-established artistic community by providing space for studios along with a double-height gallery. We’ve made the most of the setting with a waterside cafe and restaurant which spills out beneath a double-height framed colonnade overlooking the canal. This frontage supports the activities of the neighbouring Stour Space, a multifunctional creative venue and café, and pulls back to give an accessible waterfront.

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Carpenters Wharf
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Carpenters Wharf

The London Legacy Development Corporation which leads the regeneration and planning departments for the area demands the highest design standards as part of the Olympic Legacy Plan, and both Carpenters Wharf and Swan Wharf meet these standards through high-performing building envelopes and a strong focus on passive energy control. At Swan Wharf, specific attention has been given to the control of solar heat gain through the tonality of materials and aggregated forms.

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Carpenters Wharf - Views over Olympic Park from the communal roof terrace

At Carpenters Wharf every home has been designed to respond to orientation and views. Here, a carefully considered arrangement of generous balconies means that living spaces always have one aspect free from overshadowing. Residents also have access to space on the roof with lush planting and an oak timber frame, providing them with the perfect combination of a sense of enclosure and expansive views over the Olympic Park.

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Carpenters Wharf
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