[First look + plans] Amanda Levete Architects has submitted plans for this twisting tower-scheme in Shoreditch on the eastern edge of the City of London
The proposals for the former Huntingdon Industrial Estate between Bethnal Green Road and Redchurch Street feature a 19-storey residential skyscraper housing 107 apartments above a mixed-use shopping, office and cultural ‘plinth’.
The Huntingdon Estate scheme is being backed by developer Londonewcastle which is also behind the nearby Fleet Street Hill proposals designed by Peter Barber Architects.
The scheme, Levete’s first tower project in London, has provoked strong criticism from local groups which are concerned about its height and impact on the streetscape and grain of the area.
The architect’s view
London is a city that continues to evolve and re-invent itself, and Shoreditch is an intrinsic part of this. The density and diversity, and the innovative and creative spirit which defines this area is reflected in the mixed residential and business communities that inhabit it, and the varying scales of building that surround it. Our design for Huntingdon addresses this complex urban context, and draws on the site’s vibrancy and pivotal position on the City fringe.
The plinth and tower structure will compliment surroundings by responding to the duality inherent in the site. The plinth is modelled with the same small scale, fragmented grain of historic Shoreditch and uses materials, which echo the tough, light industrial character of the area. The different sized retail spaces found here have been designed specifically to attract local, small and independent businesses, supported by capped rent, which will continue to contribute to this expanding community. Plans to further preserve and enrich the neighbourhood’s cultural and creative life centre around the development of a gallery space, creative workshop atelier and a covered, pedestrianised market.
The slim residential tower, positioned immediately opposite the new Shoreditch station appears to rise from the plinth, twisting elegantly as it reaches upwards. A material palette of glass and zinc-coated steel of different scales, textures and finishes, enables a low density mass over the majority of the site, and creates an urban grain that integrates with the surroundings. The sophisticated dynamic form responds to solar conditions throughout the day enabling optimum daylight for new and existing homes, and minimising unwanted solar gain. A rich mix of apartment sizes, and a green landscaped roof, will offer a variety of environmentally friendly, energy-efficient homes in this sought after location, and will set a precedent for landmark quality apartments that does not currently exist in Tower Hamlets.
Amanda Levete reveals east London tower plans