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Howells to take English National Ballet to east London

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Glenn Howells Architects has been appointed to design a new building in east London to provide a new joint home for the English National Ballet (ENB) and English National Ballet School

The scheme marks the second phase of the emerging London City Island on the Leamouth Peninsula, backed by Eco World Ballymore - a joint venture between Malaysian property giant Eco World and UK developer Ballymore.

Howells took over as lead on the project early last year, replacing the original design team which included SOM, John Pardey Architects and Jestico + Whiles (see AJ 13.01.14).

The new facility will host both organisations, allowing rehearsals and development of new productions and will include eight new dance spaces designed to allow passers-by to watch through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Glenn Howells said: ‘The emerging designs are specifically driven by the huge wealth of experience of the ENB team as well as from visiting other purpose-built ballet facilities.’

The firm is currently working with ENB to develop the brief and outline designs, he said, and the favoured concept would see it built as a bold monochrome structure to contrast with surrounding brightly-coloured brick buildings.

A large ground-floor café and foyer will link to Faraday Square, a public space designed by landscape architect Camlins.

ENB said its departure from its current home at Jay Mews in Kensington will allow it to continue its expansion in future years.

ENB artistic director Tamara Rojo said the building would be available for other artistic organisations to use for rehearsals.
‘I want the space to echo to the sound of creative Britain,’ she added.

The developers hope that the new building will be operational by autumn 2018.

Previous story (AJ 13.01.14)

Major changes at Leamouth Peninsula as Howells takes charge

Glenn Howells Architects (GHA) has ‘significantly’ changed Ballymore’s proposed Leamouth Peninsula development after taking over the reins of the huge east London scheme

The AJ has learned that former design team leader SOM, which has worked on various schemes for the 4.7ha brownfield site since 2005, is no longer involved in the £700million project.

John Pardey Architects and Jestico + Whiles, who worked alongside SOM and Glenn Howells as part of the team which drew up the detailed plans back in 2010 (see below), are also out of the picture.

However, it is understood the layout and massing has been kept from SOM’s masterplan for the 1,706 home, 165,000m2 development between the river Lea and the Thames – formerly home to the Pura Foods factory.

The more colourful designs for the island site – each of the five main buildings is a now different colour – have been drawn up by GHA following a marketing campaign which was launched in Hong Kong. The scheme has been rebranded London City Island.

Daniel Ringelstein, the director at SOM who succesfully took the masterplan through planning (see AJ 11.04.11), said that while it was always intended the scheme would be ‘delivered by a range of collaborating architects’ the ‘character of the architecture had changed considerably’.

He added: ‘The building design character, colours and material palette has significantly varied from that which was developed as part of the approved Design Code accompanying the masterplan, so we hope that as the project progresses over time the intent to deliver a visually cohesive development and urban form on the island site is followed.’

A director for GHA confirmed that ‘following a successful marketing campaign and global interest in the scheme’ the practice had been appointed with Chris Blandford Associates to deliver the initial phase of the landscape design and first two buildings of the masterplan.’

In addition, Arup Associates has been brought in to design the new marketing suite.

(Click here to see the plans)

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