• Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban Design
  • Housing

Aberfeldy Estate,
Tower Hamlets

Info

Project Details:

Unlocking a hidden pocket of land to house a thriving urban community.

Client: Aberfeldy New Village LLP

Construction Value: £200m

Completion: 2015 (phase 1) and 2017 (phase 2)

Location: Tower Hamlets

Awards:

  • Building Awards 2013, BIM Initiative of the Year: Finalist

People

Working with Aberfeldy New Village LLP, a joint venture between Poplar HARCA and Prime Place, we are leading the design of the transformation of the Aberfeldy Estate in east London, providing 1,176 new homes, shops, a faith centre, community centre and PCT.

The driving force behind this project is to improve the homes and environment for the local community. Importantly, we committed to rehousing all existing residents within the new scheme, alongside additional new homes and a broad spectrum of community facilities, essential for any urban neighbourhood. Working in collaboration with Bow Arts Trust and make:good, a series of workshops were held to develop design proposals with residents. With a very diverse local population, we used a variety of different methods of engagement to ensure that everyone could understand and buy into our vision for the new Aberfeldy Estate.

The site is located on the northern boundary of the Import Dock, famous for the importing of exotic goods during the 18th and 19th century. This heritage was sadly lost when it was heavily bombed during the war and subsequently redeveloped.

The East India Docks opened in 1806 and were designed by John Rennie and Ralph Walker. This site was nearly obliterated during WWII and since redeveloped. Image published by London County Council

A contemporary warehouse aesthetic is one way we link the present site to its industrial past

The new civic heart is the junction point of all the axis of the masterplan

Owned and managed by Poplar HARCA, the estate was situated on a hidden pocket of land – bounded by the A12, A13 and River Lea. Gasholders to the north east and Erno Goldfinger’s iconic Balfron Tower to the west completed the urban context. Initially a very self-contained site was opened up by a new pedestrian crossing over the A13, connecting the community to the south and East India DLR station.

Our brief from the outset was to deliver a new masterplan, transforming the Aberfeldy Estate into a new urban village, drawing out its industrial history and building on its new connections to the wider area. On the strength of our proposals, we were appointed to develop the masterplan, architecture and landscape for the regeneration of the whole estate.

Director Jo McCafferty discusses design proposals with community members, both images ©Poplar HARCA

Design

The key concept of the masterplan was to create a series of new routes in and around the site – bringing people into the centre of the scheme from the nearby busy roads and public transport nodes. Carving these new connections between the buildings will make the whole area much more permeable and welcoming for both residents and visitors. A new street running north to south with shops, community resources, health facilities and a faith centre will reinstate the old high street, creating activity within a new village centre set around a new public square.

Masterplan for Aberfeldy Estate

New shops and community spaces revive the old high street

Aberfeldy Village is quickly transforming into a vibrant new neighbourhood around a significant new London park at its heart. Housing of all types and tenures has been carefully designed to support development of this mixed, sustainable community – both now and in the long term.

Jo McCafferty, Director

A new linear park sits at the heart of the neighbourhood, with open lawns and varied play spaces, lined with trees and seasonal planting to provide colour all year round. The park is also a key part of the sustainable drainage system and biodiversity strategy, which was developed with the London Wildlife Trust to ensure the new landscape fosters a broad range of species. A continual swale runs along the full length of the park with steps facing south, providing informal seating. Plants for pollinators; brick faced boxes for birds; biodiverse roofs and a variety of trees, shrubs and flowering bulbs will create diverse habitat types that previously did not exist.

Building C ground plan: raised communal courtyards provide defined areas for residents to gather

We worked with the London Wildlife Trust to ensure the linear park would create new habitats for a number of species

New homes are arranged around this linear green space in medium rise, high density buildings ranging from four to ten storeys. Lower, more domestic scale buildings sit adjacent to the neighbouring estate, whilst higher, muscular, robust buildings along the A13 provide a degree of protection to this urban edge.

Section through building C, East India Green and building A: the tallest buildings on the estate sit along the A13 to protect the pedestrian spaces

The site’s illustrious past is made visible through art installations including case concrete tea crates and brass cotton reels in the landscape and paisley patterns etched in the paving. Crisp detailing and a limited material palette give the buildings a modern warehouse aesthetic.

Core team

Jo McCafferty

Director

Gary Tidmarsh

Chairman

Lotta Nyman

Associate Director

Tony Hall

Technical Design Director

Glyn Tully

Associate Director, Head of Urban Design

Julia Park

Head of Housing Research

Mark Keegan

Associate Director

Kate Digney

Associate Director, Head of Landscape

Nicolas Santarelli

Associate

Vinita Dhume

Senior Associate

Simon Abbott

Senior Landscape Architect

Paul Martin

Senior Architect

James Dugdale

Senior Project Leader

Jayne Mills

Project Architect

Ben Monteagle

Project Architect

Clara Bailo

Project Architect

Oscar Bond

Architect

Renzo Campisi

Architect

Zohra Chiheb

Project Architect

Amy Fitzgerald

Project Architect

Chris Gray

Architect

Beth Treseder

Project Landscape Architect

Dominic Patel

Architectural Visualiser

Laura Gold

Visuals Technician

Jeremy Hemingray

Landscape Architect

Ioanna Karagiannakou

Architectural Assistant