East is currently working as landscape designer and one of two architects on a major housing scheme on Fish Island for London & Quadrant Housing Trust. In collaboration with AHMM, concepts grew out of detailed site analysis exploring the rich history of the canal side site.
When approaching the design of the landscape consideration was given to the existing buildings and spaces that make up this part of Fish Island. The urban grain of the area is influenced by the industrial and canal side heritage of the place. This can still be perceived today by observing the street patterns, and the materials that are used for footways, towpaths, and buildings.
At the canal side, a new public space is proposed that will form a direct link with existing land owned by the Canal & River Trust (CRT). This existing area comprises Old Ford Lock and its accompanying canal side furniture; bollards: lock gate supports, black and white key-clamp railings and a pedestrian footbridge. Ground surface materials consist of poured concrete, tarmac, and granite. The intention of the proposal is to stitch the new and existing spaces together, using a similar approach to materials and by making reference to the types of furniture that are associated with the lock and other canal side areas. A similar approach to this has already been adopted for the recent new canal park improvements under way nearby and which this scheme will extend and tie into. In addition to this material and aesthetic continuity work has been done to ensure that the ground levels between the proposed canal side space and existing CRT owned space tie together. The public realm extends back through the development via the east-west route; the proposal seeks to bring the presence of the canal side atmosphere right back to Bream Street, and to support new views through the site made possible by the orientation and layout of the development.
Within the development, communal residential garden spaces are accessed from the east-west route. The character of these spaces are more intimate, textural, and specific in their capacity for access, privacy, play, light and green space. Each communal garden has a unique character; a sunken rain garden: a flower and fruit garden: and a play space.
In part, due to the site’s close proximity to the River Lee Navigation and Old Ford Lock, the landscape has been shaped around a need to accommodate flood relief. This has lead to some areas being sunk down creating a unique topography across the site with precast concrete and timber boardwalks providing safe egress and enhancing the sense of being at the canal. The proposed level changes have been designed to add spatial character, helping to create a unique set of public and private spaces.
The north west building which East were appointed to design, located at the intersection of Bream Street and Stour Road is designed to provide a positive presence to this important location in Fish Island. From the outset the building has been designed to provide affordable rent accommodation, alongside a range of other elements, including an employment space, bike storage, car ramp access, and two residential entrances at the ground floor; one of which engages closely with the adjacent play space for young children.
The building is a roughly cubic figure; a strong prismatic form that offers a positive frontage at all sides, and uses its status as a corner building to mark and signify this part of the site to those approaching on foot or by cycle. Indeed the building will usually be viewed obliquely, two elevations at a time, and this quality has been incorporated as a positive characteristic of the development. The horizontal precast concrete ledges are designed to portray the scale of the building, specific to each elevation, that addresses the top, middle and base of the building.The top floor is shaped by setting the corners in and angling the walls to respond dynamically to the sense of orientation at this location, and to enable views and light to be enhanced, taking advantage of views in the round at this level. Windows get larger and the architecture is allowed to relax in form.
Location: Fish Island
Client: London & Quadrant Housing Trust
Project status: On-going – In for planning