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BUJ’s east London tower gets green light

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A 24-storey tower designed by BUJ Architects in Poplar, east London, has been granted planning permission – four in favour and two against – by Tower Hamlets Council

The scheme on the site of a former Esso petrol station in Leamouth Road comprises a 24-storey tower with stepped blocks of 20, 17, 11 and 8 storeys, which are linked with a two-storey podium at ground level.

Plans for the 30,186m² scheme, known as Orchard Wharf, include 338 flats, a cafe and 376m² of flexible floorspace.

Freddie Heaf, partner at BUJ Architects, said: ’The scheme responds appropriately to the setting of Leamouth Road to the west and the River Lea to the east – building on the concepts of protected and connected, a concept further reflected in the elevation treatment of a tough exterior facade to the street.

’This maintains the sense of massing and solidity of each individual curved element, preserving their sculptural form. Within these established forms, window detailing and materiality provide the opportunity to create variation and activity within a strong, rigorous facade. The internal element of the proposal opens up the accommodation to its riverside location; increasing the glazing and perforation, this appears [as] a much more delicate edge to the proposal.’

Work is expected to start on site in the first half of 2017, with a completion date scheduled for 2019 or 2020.

Meanwhile, plans for a 28-storey tower development in Whitechapel by UNIT Architects were refused by Tower Hamlets at the same committee meeting.

The proposals for One Cambridge Heath Road, which had been recommended for refusal, included 559 flats within a total eight buildings – including the 28-storey tower – and the demolition of the existing Sainsbury’s for a replacement supermarket. 

The planning report stated that UNIT Architects’ scheme would cause substantial harm to the the Grade I-listed Trinity Green Almshouses, and cause harm, albeit less than substantial, ’to the character and appearance of Stepney Green Conservation Area, and to Whitechapel Market Conservation Area including the Grade II listed Albion Yard building’.

The scheme by BUJ Architects is the latest in a swathe of tall buildings planned for Tower Hamlets. 

In December, Make submitted revised plans for a 48-storey skyscraper in the Docklands, having withdrawn a previous proposal for a 56-storey tower on the same site.  

In August, plans by Stockwool for a 25-storey tower development in Whitechapel were approved.

In July, Sheppard Robson unveiled plans for a 24-storey tower in nearby Cavell Street.

In May, PLP Architecture got the go ahead from the mayor of London for a redevelopment of the former Westferry Printworks on the Isle of Dogs, including nine buildings of up to 30 storeys. David Adjaye and PLP Architecture also submitted proposals for a 300-home redevelopment of the Whitechapel Estate featuring 12 new buildings of up to 24 storeys.

Project data

Type of project Residential-led mixed use
Client Esso UK Ltd & Galliard Homes Ltd
Architect BUJ Architects
Landscape architect Outer Space
Planning consultant CBRE
Structural engineer PJCE
M&E consultant MZA
Gross internal floor area 30,186m² 

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