A replacement pub use on the ground floor provides active frontage to West India Dock Road with a chamfered corner referencing the existing/historical entrance, whilst providing legibility and presence. The residential entrance is off the quieter Birchfield Street, inset off the narrow footpath to create a generous arrival space.
Nine apartments above are formed around a triangular shaped inset balcony, aligned with the entrance below. It creates a ‘cut out’ area in the massing above which splits the building form into two elements. The height rises in part to express the corner and provides a transition in scale with the surrounding context.
This results in a strong, sculptural building form which reflects the geometry of the site and creates more slender, elegant proportions when viewed along West India Dock Road.
The site’s location presents a gateway to the Docklands and Canary Wharf, and a 'binding' spot where differing conditions merge and meet around this corner.
There are differing characters of development on the northern and southern sides of West India Dock Road and the proposals present an opportunity to knit them together.
The site requires a well-considered and high quality design with strong street presence, whilst creating an appropriate relationship with its less significant neighbours.
The architectural design of the scheme has been inspired by the area’s rich Docklands heritage, the robustness and simplicity of its brick industrial buildings and its shapes and forms
The proposals seek to complement this aesthetic, incorporating a utilitarian approach to the division of the façade through well-proportioned openings with deep brickwork reveals, articulated further to express verticality.
Variety within the brickwork adds interest, through different colours and tones and through the detailing. A grey brick is proposed which offers of a crisp, contemporary interpretation of the industrial aesthetic and provides a positive visual contrast with the London stock buildings of the adjacent Birchfield Estate.
Blue glazed brickwork celebrates the triangular cut out which defines the essence of the building and is inspired by the ceramics which were historically made in the area's kilns. A feature ‘porthole’ window above the entrance is also a playful nod to the Docklands.
In summary, the scheme proposals aim to celebrate local heritage in a contemporary way, conceptually responding to the historic London Docklands through the elevation design and choice of materials. The design and layout embraces the site’s corner position and triangular footprint, creating a slender, sculptural form with its verticality articulated through an ordered and elegant elevational treatment.
Westferry, London Docklands