Plaistow Hub, Newham, East London

Pitman Tozer Architects has been awarded planning permission (subject to agreement of Section 106 and GLA approval) by the London Borough of Newham for Plaistow Hub, a 20,036 sq m development with 182 new homes across two sites bisected by Plaistow Road in central Plaistow.

Commissioned by Red Door Ventures, the project is the practice’s biggest scheme to date. It is part of a package of sites which includes three smaller affordable housing schemes by Karakusevic Carson Architects and dRMM. All four schemes were awarded planning permission at the same committee meeting.

Red Door Ventures is a pioneering council-owned development company committed to creating thousands of private rented homes across Newham. Appointed by Red Door Ventures in 2014, Pitman Tozer Architects’ award-winning work for Peabody, particularly Mint Street, a contemporary mansion block with winter gardens built on the edge of an elevated railway in Bethnal Green, makes it well-placed to realise the developer’s ambitions to create much needed new homes on challenging urban sites.

The first site, to the south of Plaistow Road, accessible via Plaistow Road, creates a new and vital public square and entrance to the existing underground station, through the placement of three new buildings arranged in concert around the station. The 11,839 sq m high quality scheme incorporates 100 units of private rented homes and commercial spaces including a gym, supermarket and café opening on to ‘Station Square’. The buildings vary in height from 2-storeys, in accordance with the existing 19thcentury brick station building, to 23-storeys to create a landmark for the new hub.

The second site to the north of Plaistow Road, accessible via Valetta Grove, is an 8-storey block with a 15-storey tower providing 82 units of private rented homes and community facilities, which is accessed via a second public space overlooking the adjacent park.

The design proposals emphasise placemaking and promotion of the public realm to improve the congested environment around the station, and enhancing existing public routes through the sites to outlying catchment areas. The London Road tower forms a landmark building and visual locator for the underground station and Plaistow Hub.

A common material palette will be used across the new buildings in order to create a visual connection across the two sites, promoting a distinct sense of place and a new identity around Plaistow station. A light brown brick with variegated tones coupled with a light colour mortar will create a depth and richness to the architectural expression. Re-constituted stone and brick form the primary materials at Valetta Grove, with a secondary palette of dark metal-framed glazing and balustrade, and bright yellow and charcoal terracotta to create contrasting tones, adding depth to the facade. A common language of full brick window reveals and wrapping of materials as soffit treatments will be applied to safeguard high quality material finish across all buildings.

The residential units range in size from 1- 3 bed, all with generous proportions, designed in compliance with GLA Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance. The units benefit from tenant facilities including 24-hour concierge, parcel collection service, tenants’ lounge, rentable event space and roof terrace amenity. London Road has been earmarked as one of Red Door Ventures’ primary hub sites.

The buildings are environmentally efficient: an enhanced building fabric minimises heat loss, and orientation reduces reliance on artificial lighting and ensures good levels of interior daylight and ventilation. A decentralised communal heat and power (CHP) system will provide energy to each site, with the intention that it will connect to a district heat network in the future. In addition the buildings will incorporate renewables such as photovoltaics and air source heat pumps on both sites.

Luke Tozer, Director, Pitman Tozer Architects, said:

“Over multiple levels and across two sites, the scheme aims to create a harmonious and cohesive new urban centre in a challenging context where road and rail infrastructure intersect. The architectural articulation of each building is unique, determined by its brief and situation, but the shared materials of brick, reconstituted stone and terracotta forge a common language which ties the urban fabric together.”