Strand East, Plot MU5
Duggan Morris Architects work on two different plots within the proposed Strand East masterplan. The wider masterplan proposes an entirely new neighbourhood in East London. The project, commissioned by Vastint UK, occupies a triangular brownfield site flanked on two sides by tributary arms of the River Lea.
The first plot, MU5, sits on the most prominent southern edge of masterplan facing a large public square and overlooking the Three Mills Conservation area. This site has been identified as the ‘jewel’ of the masterplan based on its location.
The proposal joins a close-knit sphere of ad-hoc buildings that cluster around the high banks of the waterways of the Lea. Common motifs of tapering roof forms, varied eave lines and eccentric gable ends were explored through an iterative model making process of two blocks side by side. Gradually, a pairing of two carefully whittled monolithic masses began to emerge, one larger and one smaller, with a shared vocabulary of architectural features, details and geometry.
Like fraternal twins, the buildings share commonalities, but are distinguished through the nuanced differences between them. Their masses conceal their bulk, by being widest at their centre and tapering to form slim gables ends at their extremities. Variation in eave lines around the buildings allow the massing to drop lower to address the public space, reducing visual impact to nearby neighbours and helping to frame pedestrian routes through the site, such as the deliberately narrow offset ‘gap’ that exists between the two.
Extensive testing of massing alongside the optimisation of floor plan arrangements to create dual and triple aspect flats in parallel with construction systems ensured planning risk was mitigated. The resulting plans adopt generous and well connected volumes for family rooms, with lofty floor to ceiling heights and all apartments exceed LHDG space standards. Apartments are served by intimately sized (and day-lit) lobby spaces, as opposed to long anonymous corridors.