A new mixed-use scheme in Hackney, north London provides an interesting model for the regeneration of redundant canalside sites, reconciling conflicting requirements to retain protected employment space while creating high-density, high-quality housing. London’s waterways have huge potential residential amenity value but often remain derelict as planning policies prohibit new uses on historically industrial sites.
Designed by Pollard Thomas Edwards architects (PTEa) for housing and property group Places for People, Kleine Wharf includes 2100 sq m of start-up business space, a photographer’s studio, a neighbourhood police office and a waterside cafe as well as 71 mixed-tenure apartments, 34 of which overlook the canal.
This diverse range of uses sits comfortably in a predominantly industrial area, which features one of the UK’s last vinyl record manufacturers, a meat packing plant, a precision instruments company and a museum warehouse as well as local authority housing and a children’s nursery.
The development is arranged as two L-shaped apartment blocks that form three sides of a courtyard. The fourth side is occupied by a green-clad office block, which provides a visual and acoustic buffer between the residential accommodation and an existing factory to the east.
PTEa director Dominic May says, “Kleine Wharf proves that inner-city housing needn’t cost jobs. We’ve actually increased employment space on this site, with a focus on supporting new local businesses. The success of the scheme reflects Places for People’s determination to forge strong local partnerships, particularly with Shoreditch Our Way – which will operate the start-up business space – as well as the Metropolitan Police.”
The development, constructed under a partnering contract by Mansell, is one of a number of PTEa projects on the Regent’s Canal in Hackney and Islington, including its own offices at Diespeker Wharf.