Dr. Frances Hollis
The way we live and work is changing radically, but the rules that govern what we can build lag way behind. Inflexible definitions of ‘residential’ consign the substantial, rapidly increasing home-based workforce to inhabit inappropriate spaces, and operate covertly because they either fear they are, or they actually are, breaking some regulation or other.
LLDC faces in two opposing directions over the future of Hackney Wick and Fish Island, committed to the established creative communities who inhabit low-cost space in fluid, non-binary, inventive ways, but simultaneously prohibiting ‘live/work’ development as a result of its failure in Hackney in the early 2000s. Structural reform will be slow. Creative thinking is needed in the meantime, to prevent the loss of the artists.
The Yard Theatre
Built in 2011 by a group volunteers, led by Artistic Director Jay Miller, The Yard is a space to explore new ideas, to nurture new talent and to share new experiences. The Yard enables artists to develop new risk-taking work for its unique stage. This work is rooted in our locale, created with the local community and providing a platform for unheard voices to tell relevant stories about our world today.
With ticket prices starting at £5, The Yard is affordable for all. The Yard is also a space to experience new music; providing a platform for events organised by and for under-represented groups. The Yard is a space for all to come together and experience something new.
25-37 Rothbury Road forms the last plot in a wider urban block to be developed. The current building was flanked on all sides by industrial warehouses leaving only one elevation with any active frontage.
The brick hit and miss detailing at parapet level allowed the scheme to tie in with the family of other distinctly detailed brick buildings of the masterplan.
The scheme succeeds in animating every elevation at ground level and activating the new public spaces, street-scape and working yards. The scheme was shaped to maximise views and light for the scheme without impacting on the other sites, stepping down from 6 to 2 storeys. This allowed for sensitive scale for the elevation that faced the new public space.
White Post Lane takes inspiration from the area where creative industries and residents live side-by-side in the remaining converted industrial buildings. The scheme is a collection of three residential buildings and a commercial building connected around a yard space. There were a number of challenges to overcome; a Thames Water trunk sewer running underneath, the proximity to a busy motorway, flood risk levels and a curved site geometry
Each home maximises views, space and light, providing dual and triple aspect units throughout most of the scheme and exceed all standards new homes aspire to achieve. New residents look onto creative professionals working in the yards below whilst also being able to access a series of roof top gardens.
Taking inspiration from the local template of simple robust warehouses and factories of the industrial era, our buildings at Fish Island Village will provide modern-day start-up entrepreneurs in Hackney Wick with a place to live, a place to work, shared facilities and support that will help them with the exciting challenge of growing a creative business.
Our buildings are arranged to form new courtyards, each with a distinct character that in turn inform a series of building types.
Neptune Yard creates the ‘front door’ for the commercial community, allowing spill out from the surrounding workshops and retail units. The neighbouring Rippoth Yard is more private with softer landscaping, play spaces and connections with the flats above to encourage shared residential use. The canalside and Lofthouse Square provide civic spaces within the development.
Scheybeler + co.
The Old Peanut Factory is a great reminder of the Victorian industrial heritage of the area. In this part we can see the typical situation of how new businesses can thrive in old buildings.
This 19th century brick building houses a contemporary creative agency’s office with a local café situated in the building below. The office benefits from the high ceilings of the factory, the mezzanine levels and the generous windows, which overlook varied architectural townscape of the surrounding Fish Island.
Lion Works is perhaps the oldest, or amongst the oldest, buildings in the Wick. Originally an Iron Foundary it morphed through Chemical Dyes to Dry Cleaning via Upholstery and Soft Furnishings to Mirror and Furniture production.
The mirrors are still being made here. But now the building is also home to Designers, Artists, IT consultants, Tattooists, Actors, Photographers, Stylists, Fashion Houses, Film Makers, Production Units and Mezcal importers. Until recently Lion Works could also claim Gin makers and Chocolatiers.
The yard is just as likely to be full of articulated lorries departing for the continent with a consignment of gilt edged dinning room mirrors as a collection of fashion models in silk being photographed for Harpers. So Lion Works is still about work. The program free and amorphic nature of the building’s gestation has produced a flexible and welcoming structure, capable of withstanding 150 years of technological, social, environmental and economic changes.
Here East is a new mixed-use development which re-uses the former Press and Broadcast Centres on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Here East will provide a stunning new home for the creative and digital industries. The three buildings that make up Here East include the 850,000 sq ft former Broadcast Centre; the 300,000 sq ft former Press Centre; and a 900 seat auditorium, creating a total area of over a million square feet of space to design and develop.
The former Broadcast Centre, a building big enough to house six Boeing 747s, will feature office, restaurant and studio space, a data centre and new facilities for Loughborough University and Hackney Community College and is already home to BT Sport.
Hepscott Road forms a part of the emerging Hackney Wick neighbourhood centre, standing at two cross roads in the heart of the area. 31 residential units sit above creative workshops and studios that activate the key street frontage. These homes have access to shared amenity on podiums and balconies on the private side of the proposal.
Chamfered corners create places at either end of the building, helping to address to two key cross roads in Hackney Wick and Hepscott Road, Rothbury Road and White Post Lane. A new commercial yard space to the back of the proposal will provide spill out space for the commercial units and will be expanded by future development to the east.
Caplin Glass resides in another useful warehouse without any particular features other than being built for manufacturing. This comes with high ceilings and gates, extraction facilities and the opportunity to operate machinery throughout the working week. Its proximity to the A12 and therefore to its central London customers is key for the business which provides custom made glass and mirror panels from in all sizes.
Providing 52 new homes above two levels of work-space, Trego Road draws on the concept of shared space where residential, making and public spaces meet and blur. A series of tiered yard, park and garden spaces create opportunities for communities to meet and form alongside more domestically scaled private balconies and terraces.
Interpreting nature’s reclamation of these post industrial sites; the scheme incorporates extensive and varied planting providing green space within the emerging urbanity and providing opportunities to increase biodiversity and encourage pioneering flora and fauna species to flourish.
A new form of maker-space is explored through ground floor active gallery, office and showroom spaces served by fabrication areas in the high ceilinged, robust and less sacrosanct super basement below.
Wickside is a 3.4 hectare canalside residential-led development on the edge of London’s Olympic Park. The site is a former refuse yard, and the project forms part of the ongoing transformation of Hackney Wick. Wickside will provide around 450 homes and 300 jobs. Absorbed into its urban fabric are a number of existing buildings which will become anchors to a cluster of creative and industrial uses, including a craft brewery, creative co-working spaces and a foundry. New buildings learn from the Hackney Wick typology of semi-public yards. A public park runs alongside the canal towpath. A full planning application for the site was submitted in August 2016. Our aim all through has been to ensure that Wickside is ‘not one place, but many places’, a genuinely mixed-use bit of the city of which it is a part, and a place where residents share space with the wider public.
Monier Road is a unique project for a special time and place; a stone’s throw from Here East and the Olympic Park and a strategic site in the post Olympic story. The challenge was to develop a masterplan that mediates between the network of streets and yards of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, and the expansive spaces on the Olympic Park, providing sustainable residential and employment space.
The masterplan divides the site in two with a new pedestrian route and public space. Buildings are laid out to respect the existing street pattern, and build on the ‘yard’ typology, one of Fish Island’s distinct qualities. Designed around central yard spaces each block provides dual aspect apartments with good daylight and natural ventilation.
Providing 34 new homes above a new maker-space, the materiality and detailing of this scheme draws on the local industrial heritage of the adjoining conservation area. Planted terraces, evoking the loading structures of the locale at the rear, will provide a lattice for climbing plants to increase biodiversity.
The B1 maker-space at its base has been designed to position showroom / galleries to the corners and fabrication areas to the centre of the plan with the percentages of glazing and metal in-fills, loading bays and shutters directly referencing this. Responding to Hackney Wick’s blurred living / working patterns and definitions of public / private space, the yard, along with higher level gardens, are proposed as shared-spaces creating meeting points for communities to form.
The building which Woodwork Studios 59 occupies is hidden behind one of the most frequented corner shops in the area. This building is an old Victorian industrial shell, and until a few weeks ago, housed a large, open workshop for artists and film makers.
The high ceilings, large iron gate, flexible working yard and the adjacent living units made this an ideal place for the three young artists to live and work, establishing their practice and exploring their art though metal working, mould making and casting. The space is also used the space to host exhibitions of their most recent work.
Built in 2014 by the London Legacy Development Corporation, Hub67 is a community centre run by The Yard Theatre. Located in the heart of Hackney Wick, Hub67 provides a home for the local community; a place for neighbours, for young people and for creative ideas. Hub67 delivers projects for the community, working with residents, young people and schools. Offering free space to local residents for activities that benefit the local area, and not charging for its programme, Hub67 is key to the sharing economy in Hackney Wick, providing a space for all those who live and work locally to come together, meet, share ideas and be creative. In 2016, the Hub67 welcomed nearly 6,000 locals, offering free space over 150 times.
White Post Café
White Post Café opened at the end of August 2016: a flexible, creative space that the whole community can share: local businesses, artists, makers and residents exchange ideas and build bridges - like a local boozer crossed with a continually evolving workshop,
We have created a multi-purpose space that functions as a bar, as a café, as a venue for meetings, workshops, parties, screenings, lectures and more. Somewhere you can come and relax, have a drink, meet people, have a laugh with friends… We’d dare to say we’re the friendliest bar in The Wick.
A simple metal shed is home to this company which provides transport services and helps to take children with special needs to locations all over East London. The warehouse serves as the company’s office and maintenance facility for its 100 minibuses. The warehouse itself, with its large size, high ceilings and proximity to main roads into and out of London, is well suited to accommodating this transport business.
This time is a difficult one for the businesses in Hackney Wick, while change is happening. Many of these businesses are not visible, but are doing a great job on a daily basis and providing London with their vital services.
Most of them want to stay, and it is the architects who have the opportunity to design the right spaces to allow them to stay to keep manufacturing, distributing, designing and producing. The Victorians were able to create good workshops; there is no reason why we can’t today.
The Algha Works building was designed as a regular industrial building in the Victorian age. The building now stands as one of the most beautiful and robust buildings in the Hackney Wick area.
Inside, the Savile Row Eyewear Company continues to manufacturer their bespoke designs, using the same methods that they have since the 1930s.
The simplicity of the layout, the robust fabric and the large windows make this an ideal workshop for a business that ships its products across the world.
dRMM have gained unanimous planning approval for a mixed-use scheme on Wick Lane. The design, for Taylor Wimpey, realises the LLDC objectives for an employment led development providing enhanced connectivity within the local area and outstanding design quality. It integrates industrial, commercial and residential uses around a high quality public realm. The architecture reconciles the transition between the vibrant Conservation Area to the north and the Strategic Industrial Land to the south. Wick Lane is composed of a series of distinctive buildings, each with individual character and form, taking reference from the conservation area. A pedestrian and cycle route creates new connection onto the Greenway, while two new landscaped public spaces, ‘Wick Walk’ and ‘The Yard’, provide connections through the site. Wick Lane offers a diverse and permeable environment, characterised by high-quality working and living spaces. It transforms the under-utilised site into a vibrant and well-connected community.
A new mixed use street in Hackney Wick, providing 39 flats and 1,700 m2 of commercial space for rent.
The site borders the northern edge of the Hackney Wick Masterplan; to the south historic factories including the grade II listed Book Depository; to the north two-storey housing. We saw opportunities for a ziggurat, stepping down with minimal impact to neighbours, whilst providing generous roof terraces and views.
A new street to the south provides connections to the wider area and is animated with residential entrances as well as commercial windows and entrances. Our strategy involves ‘revealing’ the 19C brick facades of our neighbour’s heritage buildings as one side of the new street.