Units and density: 18 mixed tenure homes with commercial space at ground floor, 325 hrh, 113 dph
Status: Completed 2017
Selected awards: Hackney Design Award 2018 - Commended
Great Eastern Buildings is a
mixed-use development on a brownfield site in Hackney providing 14 intermediate
and 4 market sale units with creative industry space at street level.
Formerly offices for the Great
Eastern Railway, the scheme sits in a constrained location next to a railway
line within a local context of municipal buildings and 2-3 storey Victorian
properties forming the Horton Conservation Area.
A shopfront opens out to the street from the taller apartment building on Reading Lane and onto a shared forecourt opposite a renovated railway arch. A new mews street, reminiscent of a typical London mews typology extends from the taller, street-facing building and sits parallel to the railway line in response to the narrow depth of the site.
The material palette of handmade brickwork echoes the surrounding Victorian housing in the conservation area and the railway viaduct. The mews elevation interprets the elements of a traditional London mews typology in a contemporary way by incorporating white brickwork at ground floor with darker brickwork above.
Full brick reveals on windows and terraces create depth to the façade, expressing the solidity of the new homes, while a variety of brick lintels are used to distinguish between the character of the apartment building on Reading Lane and the new mews street. Detailing in the form of bronze balustrading on terraces and juliet balconies and timber doors complement the simple brick palette and contribute to the quality of the scheme.
The strategy signage played a fundamental role in creating a sense of place. Karakusevic Carson collaborated with designers Alexander Boxill to incorporate graphic design within housing which extended to bespoke typography seamlessly crafted into a steel bar entrance gate.
All dwellings are designed to meet Lifetime Homes and London Housing Design Guide criteria and benefit from generous external space in the form of terraces and balconies. Ground floor homes on the mews street have private patio gardens which extend out from and complement internal living spaces, with direct access to a shared garden.
The new mews street creates a space for chance meetings and well-overlooked play, whilst the rear communal garden and green roofs provide a stimulating biodiverse environment with wildflower planting.