Our design skilfully responds to the mix of historic and new buildings in the area. The scheme’s form and materiality is inspired by the distinct character and industrial heritage of Fish Island, with a simple material palette of three coloured bricks of varying textures that contrast with each other when they meet at critical corners. The massing is deliberately irregular, with saw-tooth roofs on the apartment buildings lending a quirky character.
Apartments and townhouses are situated around two large podium gardens, with 35% of the units being a mixture of shared ownership and affordable rent tenures. A variety of creative, maker, commercial, affordable and light industrial spaces are incorporated in the scheme, adding to the neighbourhood’s rich local mix.
Running east to west along Beachy road, the entire development looks onto the Fish Island Conversation Area. A triangular seven storey apartment building in red brick anchors the site on its eastern edge and reconciles the intersection of two urban grains with varying heights. A two-storey base of creative studio spaces provides further activation at street level.
Townhouses and elevated podium gardens maintain a low edge along Beachy Road, responding sympathetically to the adjacent historic piano factory. Terraced four to five storey apartment buildings form a backdrop to the generous south-facing communal gardens whilst defining a strong street edge along Monier Road. The buildings feature an articulated saw-tooth plan to enable homes to enjoy light from the west.
The development is only a stone’s throw from the River Lea and the open spaces of the Olympic Park to the south, however the scheme works hard to provide outdoor space for residents by creating a large communal garden, open to everyone on the site, regardless of tenure. This verdant addition sits on a podium above the townhouses and workspaces, and offers precious green space to an otherwise dense urban site. In addition, the site currently has a number of London Plane Trees along its boundary, which is unusual for the area; something that the scheme acknowledges with openings and alignments that allow space for the trees to flourish. The trees along Beachy Road will offer shade and a shelter to residents on the elevated podium gardens. A historic link in the middle of the site has been reinstated, offering improved connectivity for the community and informal spill-out space for the commercial uses.
Piers Gough, who sat on the design review panel, described the scheme as “Quirky – with its angled wall it’s different, a great addition to the island. Different coloured brickwork adds to the surprise and responds to the industrial buildings of the area.”
dRMM provided architectural services up to planning.
CGI images produced by Darc Studio © Taylor Wimpey
Sketch and models © dRMM Architects