Page 1

In a context of global changes London seeks to establish itself within the knowledge economies spread-out the world. London lives out of the knowledge economies distributed around its neighborhoods, and absorb many people from all over the world looking for jobs and better lives. The 2012 Olympic Games have gifted the east of London with a great opportunity.This part of the city that for many years was a tear in the fabric of the city, becomes a field of potentials with the new available post industrial land and the investment in infrastructure, thus create new possibilities for redevelopment and the expansion of the city. This opportunity calls to reconsider this area not only in the context of London but as a threshold territory for regional and even euro-continental importance. This study intends to find the intangible relations that made places like Old Street area to a successful cluster for knowledge economy. This study aims to grasp this success without trying to implement any recipes but by setting principles and guidelines, both spatial and non spatial, for the planning in areas that are vulnerable to huge, and many times, reckless developments. Areas like Carpenter’s estate and Sugar house lane have already attracted private investors as they are the perfect canvas for applying thoughtful strategies based on tools and elements learnt from London’s history of growth. In this research one could find elements and situations that encourage a more intelligent urban growth. The tests done try to implement a strategy that carefully maximizes the existing potential and character of areas such as Hackney Wick, by retaining the productivity of the existing industries and creative clusters with the introduction of new developments which take the principles learned from different sites and implement to create cohesive and productive urban fabric. Other tests challenge the recent masterplans done for Carpenter’s Estate by UCL and Sugar house lane by IKEA. These tests call to reexamine these proposals and their relations in larger context for the benefit of the area. The interventions in specific location could regulate the development and create more public involvement which could promote institutions, residential and commercial development within the environment of the existing area.




INTRODUCTION For reasons such as ambiguous land ownership, difficulty in subdivision and amalgamation





developed in a piecemeal way over the past 60 years. This book sets the goal of investigating and testing interventions in East London, where the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is recently being implemented. The area of intervention in East London is a post industrial land with different grain and character from the continuous development of the city. For many years it was separated from the city by its use, its spatial qualities and the infrastructure of transportation which acts as a barrier between the adjacent neighborhoods. This area makes poor use of its potential in terms of location, connectivity and spatial

London Legacy Development Corporation, AA Symposium





In 1944, Abercrombie proposed a plan for

represented by physical disconnections

London (Figure 01), where he interpreted

such as roads, railways and canals.

and designed the city as a set of clusters

Meanwhile, the industrial area of East is

and neighborhoods, and grouped them

more fragmented, segregated, and with

according to the identity of each area,

mono functional uses.

defining the trend of growth for London. Abercrombie’s plan is still evident in the spatial characteristics of the chosen area; the residential neighborhoods were developed to be distinct large areas with differentiations from their borders


De Beauvoir Estate South Dalston

Mare St.

London Fields

South Hackney

Victoria Rd

Haggerston Hoxton

Cambridge Heath

Bethnal Green

Old Street

Old Ford Rd.

Columbia market

Weavers Field

Mile End Hospital


Fig1-Abercrombie’s plan


Hackney Wick

Stratford International

Bow Industrial Park

Olympic Stadium

Fish Island

Victoria park

Wick Ln.

The Orbit

Warm up area

Carpenters estate Acrise Freight Depot

Pudding Mill



Aquatic Centre

Sugar house yard


Southern Burford Spectator Wharf transport hub

Abbey Mills

Bow Church Three Mills

Tredager Square Bromley by Bow Mile end

Devons Rd.

BBBBB Hotel Macaroon

North Crescent

east neighborhoods



The interest of this investigation lies

environments. The clusters represented

within Abercrombie’s clusters, found

in the diagram below, are the assembly

inside his proposed new neighborhoods.

of a knowledge economy as it could be

These different pieces represent cultural

seen in the area surrounding Old Street

and social entities for exchange, which

Station and its emergence in other places

are an important factor in the complexity

such as Cambridge Heath, London Fields

and mix of different uses in the distinct

and Hackney Wick. Throughout the

neighborhoods of London. The main

study, there is an urge to define elements

goal of this document is to understand

and concepts responsible for making a


knowledge economy in order to translate





areas in order to create resilient urban

it spatially.


De Beauvoir Estate South Dalston

Mare St.

London Fields

South Hackney

Victoria Rd

Haggerston Hoxton

Cambridge Heath

Bethnal Green

Old Street Old Street

Old Ford Rd.

Columbia market Shoreditch Weavers Field

Mile End Hospital


As mentioned before, one of the main

the East from the city. Moreover the

characteristics of East London is the

streams of water running adjacent to sites

presence of spatial barriers all the way

in the Olympic Park, is another crucial

from Old Street to Stratford. They are

factor in fragmenting the fabrics. The A12,

transport oriented such as the rails and

extending from Canary Wharf, joins in

roads cutting the city North-South,

the M11 corridor towards Stansted and

designated areas such as the Victoria Park


and the residential zones found in between

towers characterize this high speed of A12

the territories.

and A11.

There is a notion that, the strong character

these pieces of infrastructure, it remains as

of the A12 acts as a barrier segregating

a problem of fragmenting the sites.




Despite the node created by

Hackney Wick

Stratford International

Bow Industrial Park Aquatic Centre

Olympic Stadium

Fish Island

Victoria park


Wick Ln.

The Orbit

Warm up area

Carpenters estate Acrise Freight Depot

Pudding Mill


Bow Church

Southern Burford Spectator Wharf transport hub

Abbey Mills Sugar house yard Three Mills

Tredager Square Bromley by Bow Mile end


Devons Rd.

BBBBB Hotel Macaroon

North Crescent




The railway network of London is well

The rise in property value in the centre of

known for its better connectivity to all the

London and Old street area has made it

suburbs, and the introduction of Cross

too expensive for small creative industries

Rail, is an added advantage in offering

which are pushed to more affordable

increased rate of transportation of people

spaces in the East of the city. In the

to East.

search of these spaces, one can see that

Recently, the price of property market

companies had to go from Old Street

indicates that there is a shift in moving

straight to Hackney, Dalston and therefore

East towards more affordable spaces.

Hackney Wick and Fish Island.




Similar to the trajectory between Old

strategy, going so far as to give special

Street and the East, London grows

planning powers to the newly created

towards its satellite cities. The city centre

London Legacy Development Corporation

is expanding in multiple vectors, defining

(LLDC) to act as a ‘super development

several corridors, and to this study it

authority’ for the entire area, granting

was taken into account the North-East

itself planning powers over more than 200

corridor towards the city of Cambridge.

hectares of land that currently falls within

“Ken Livingstone’s first London Plan

the four London boroughs of Newham,

(conceived before the bid for the 2012


Olympic Games was launched) identified

Hackney.” 1

two major growth corridors extending

This corridor has the potential to become

outwards from the centre along the River

the main linkage between Stratford,

Thames and to the north-east towards


Stansted Airport. It is where these two

itself, enhancing the productivity of

corridors meet that the Olympic site is

knowledge economies in East London.

located, with Stratford at its epicenter.

It is understood as a ‘corridor’ the

Boris Johnson has reinforced this growth

accumulation of independent clusters





1. BURDETT, Ricky



Price of 1 bedroom flat

“Moving East”



which complement and benefit from the

Foundation (a major medical research

different characteristics of each other and

foundation) to relocate here. New hotels

rely on the infrastructure linkage to bind

and offices are being built around Stratford


International Station, creating a secondary

The recent investments in transportation

but important cluster of new jobs and

and new construction developments,

opportunities. The legacy masterplan has

such as in Stratford and the Greater

been conceived in spatial and temporal

Olympic Park redevelopment, provide

dimensions. The open, rather flexible grid

more accessibility and contribute to the

of streets does allow the potential for

attractiveness of the area for further

assimilation and integration over a long


and realistic time period of over twenty

“There has been interest from major

years� 2

companies like the BBC, University College London and the Wellcome

2. BURDETT, Ricky


Larger Context



CHALLENGES These tendencies call for big masterplans






as it could be seen in the recent large scale

masterplans such as the IKEA’s proposal

developments in London, such as the

for Sugar House Lane and UCL’s proposal

Lower Lea Valley, Kings Cross and Canary

for Carpenter’s Estate, to understand the

Wharf. It is evident that the masterplans

differences, advantages and disadvantages

do not always contribute to heal the

of this type of urban intervention, in

fragmentation of the city mesh and to the

comparison with the natural and successful

creation of synergies between different

development spotted in the edge of the


City of London.

The main questions to be addressed are: 1.

What elements could be taken

from the areas around Old-Street as a ‘spontaneous’ development, that could be implemented in a planning strategy of a knowledge economy? 2.

What could be the spatial strategy

to capture the unique characteristics of an existing environment for a knowledge

UCL Proposal in Carpenters Estate-Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands


IKEA Proposal in Sugar House Lane-LandProp Services, 2011, in article : KANE, Colleen




ARGUMENT The main argument is that by using a strategy that merges the adaptable elements of an existing fabric and the efficiency of a Masterplan, one can combine existing characteristics of a place with new built environments, promoting a platform for the formation of a knowledge based economy. For methodological reasons, the study was divided into two categories: spontaneous and planned. The interventions occur in different contexts within these two categories and propose elements from both.




SPONTANEOUS Adjective Definition › happening or done in a natural, often sudden way, without any planning or without being forced (Cambridge Dictionary) › performed or occurring as a result of a sudden impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus. (Oxford Dictionary)










THE SILICON ROUNDABOUT Old Street The term Silicon roundabout was given to Old Street Station area by Matt Biddulph, a software designer, to define the emergence of small start-ups firms in Shoreditch area since mid 1990’s, which has become the preferable place of some big actors like Google and Facebook, and the biggest cluster of the digital sector in London known today. The emergence of creative industries

Dittmar’s creative industry cluster as it is

in general comes as a combination of

a vibrant high-tech cluster well serviced

“lots of young people; a vibrant nightlife;

by major infrastructure such as Shoreditch

excellent accessibility; a location close

and Old Street Stations, full of amenities

to city centre and public transport; old,

like shops and cafes. The area is mostly

undervalued buildings with small floor

defined by offices with some retail and

plates; an urbanism characterized by grid

commercial use on the ground floor and is

and fine grain, as evidenced by masonry

almost devoid of residence. Its extension



to other neighborhoods in the East

streets and small blocks; and lots of cafe’s

answers the demands of other uses,Such

, bars and places to congregate, meet and

as Hoxton which offers a residential area

work. Not much has been added to the

and Shoreditch which offers a place for

list since the digital age: high speed broad

large commercial developments.4

band, better coffee, perhaps... at the core

In November 2010, the government

is affordable, adaptable space in a place

aimed to make East London the biggest

that attracts people with more ideas than

technology centre by supporting the


existing cluster and by creating a framework




Old Street fits to the description of

for the working places to emerge. In 2011


the TCIO (The Tech City Investment Organisation) was established in order to support the cluster to grow and to promote it internationally for investments. In the end of 2012 the government announced that it will grant 50 million pounds for the regeneration of Old Street roundabout project:”It will be a new civic

space for the community, where start-ups can grow, and young people can learn new skills. The new space will house classrooms, auditoriums, shared office space, 3D printing technology – a real resource to the local community”5. The critics of the Tech city and the proposed project claim that shaping the policy to be too strict to imitate the Silicon Valley, without differentiation between the different scale companies that exist there and luring for the big company’s investments, could harm the small start-up as the spaces will become less affordable. The strategy for maintaining Old Street as a creative quarter has to do more with maintaining and enhancing small cluster redevelopments, as shown in the following examples. Their operation and organization in terms of work and social spaces is the reason that enables the variety of uses, sizes and types or enterprises and services which make it successful.

3. DITTMAR, Hank 4. TCIO Website, Impact Report 5. TCIO Website



“In 2010 the UK Government launched the Tech City strategy, hoping to develop the area into ‘one of the world’s great technology centers‘. Ministers are right to get excited. Inner East London is a key node in the capital’s digital ecosystem. The Centre for London finds over 3200 digital economy firms there, supporting over 48,000 jobs; those job counts have kept trending up through the recession.” 6




1. Offices development


2. Old street and central street


3. Residential development

6. LSE Website 7. TCIO Website





Retail, Restaurants, Cafe’s



Zetland House Website


ZETLAND HOUSE Old Street The Zetland House is a unique and striking

start-ups and creative industries8. The

property situated in the heart of ‘Silicon

tenant mix includes advertising, marketing,

Roundabout- Old Street’ and stands as

architects, design digital media, film and

an example of a cluster at the scale of

TV production, information technology,

the building. The old Print Works for The

health, fashion and music.

Bank of England now provides refurbished

This building is economically successful

loft-style, open plan incubator spaces for

because of the adaptability and flexibility

8. Zetland House Website



Adaptable office space

The organization of the block and the open spaces

Zetland House

that it offers. All the units have an open plan with high ceilings, deep floor spaces and natural ventilation that allow users to adapt and modify spaces. These spaces can expand or contract and allow the users to remain in the same building or area over the lifespan of their businesses. Also, central to the success of such incubators, as this example shows, are the collective spaces that promote informal networking that build social capital; large stairs connecting various floors create collective spaces around the openings, whereas the central void is enhanced by the insularity of the building, creating a spill-out zone for cross-pollination of ideas. The building is also organized to provide amenities that the workers can use, for example, located below ground- typical facilities include: childcare provision, gym, cafĂŠ.

Floor organization




Zetland house


East-West section



Zetland House

North-South section





Telecity Building

This vibrant group of buildings called Oliver’s Yard is serviced by a major City Road, and contains amenities such as shops, community center, health facilities and cafes. The cluster combine offices with some residential and live/work units. While at one end, office buildings wrap around an old Church, that now works as a Community Center for the residents of the area, over the other end commercial outlets are established at ground level with residential, live/work and offices on above

Space Overlap

levels. The mix of large block structures with punctured public spaces defines the pedestrian nature of the cluster, and promotes the spread of these spaces upwards and through the buildings.

Internal Voids

Internal Structure






Commercial Facade



Telecity Building


The Telecity Building in Oliver’s Yard is a large single function office building. The complexity of the collective spaces on multiple levels is important for its organization, and its internal court is a collective space for the workers, which promotes the spilling out of the office activities. Although mainly functioning for offices, its frontage is porous and the ground floor is open to the public for commercial and communal use. For all the reasons above mentioned, the building complements the cluster and works at the scale of the block.





Telecity Building

East-West section



HOXTON SQUARE The area of Hoxton Station lost its

buildings around the square a large number

industrial activities from the beginning of

of tech and creative companies, which

the 80’s and was taken over by artists over

include: web designers, mobile and social

the following decade. It has grown into a

network and independent film companies.

centre of London’s art market and tech-

They create a synergy between them,

centered activities.

forming a creative cluster not always

Hoxton Square is the heart of the daily

visible to those who are not looking for it.

activity of the area. One can find in the

The interrelations are not limited to just

Hoxton Square



a building or a block, but expands around a square. The unique relationships among the buildings can be identified in the slivers of small gaps in between the volumes thus creating a public realm to a scale from the small void to the urban scale. The spaces in Hoxton vary in size, and provide different appropriations and arrangements, at the same time they limit the redevelopments within the existing fabric due to their morphology. This character allow it be active 24 hours. While during the working hours, offices and business engage in trade and exchange, when the night falls, the bars and restaurants introduce a different public realm which encompasses the opportunity to be open to a varied audience.


Hoxton Square




Hoxton Square


East-West section






CAMBRIDGE HEATH AREA Cambridge Heath has a more visible industrial 1

past in relation to Old street. Developed


between big infrastructure barriers like roads and rails, it is dominated by industrial


remnants, council estates projects and


multiple datum created by the canal. The fabric of the area is a combination of residential and industrial zones, while the industrial area is dependent on transportation routes, and historically on the canal, the residential is pulled back from the main roads and organized in individual housing estates.


























200 m








Total Area:






200 m

593,032 Sqm

Buildings: 28%=171,231 Total Area: Sqm Infrastructure: 15%=92, 593,032 235

Buildings: 28%=171,231 Infrastructure: 15%=92,22,000 235Sqm Test Area: Large grain: 52%=11,340 Infrastructure: Population: -


Test Area:

22,000 Sqm

22,000 Sqm Large grain: 52%=11,340 Infrastructure: Large Grain: 51%=11,250 Population: Infrastructure: 18%= 3895 Test Area:





Test Area:

22,000 Sqm Test Area: 22,000 Sqm

Large Grain: 20%=4507 Infrastructure: 1438 Large6.5%= Grain: Population: ~800-1000


51%=11,250 Infrastructure: 18%= 3895 Population: -

2 Test Area:

22,000 Sqm

Large Grain: 31%=6848 Infrastructure: 2974 Test13%= Area: 22,000 Sqm Population: - (propsed: 350-500)



Large Grain: 20%=4507 Infrastructure: 6.5%= 1438 Population: ~800-1000

Test Area: 80







200 m

22,000 Sqm

200 m

Large Grain: 31%=6848 Infrastructure: 13%= 2974 Population: - (propsed: 35



Broadway Market

Goldsmith Row book Market

Haggerston Park- Hackney Rd.

Market Spine

Between London Fields and Shoreditch there are several successful street markets. These weekend markets are distributed along a central spine and continuously evolve within it. This spine

is defined by streets with commercial activities on the ground floor and residential on the upper ones. It is a network of commerce and services running through mainly residential neighborhoods; the combination of markets and the housing zones enables the quality and identity of East London’s clusters and neighborhoods, being a vital part of these areas.



ADA ST. CLUSTER The Ada Street cluster in Cambridge Heath is one example of cluster which the council provides affordable workshops for artists and craftsmen. It is situated amidst the dense neighborhood areas on the Eastern suburbs of London, close to infrastructural nodes. It has a rhythm that allows permeability, and offers various uses ranging from residential to industrial.


Ada st. cluster

The shared courtyard within the cluster

sell their products as well as be used for

shows a way of organizing space which

storage for the surrounding buildings.

is conducive to a creative and productive

The complex logs of buildings having

economy and serves both the residential

horizontal strata are adaptable and

and the workshops. The space adapts itself to form a part of the collective realm, where people set up small shops to



resilient which give good quality either to live or work. The slab building next to the yard has a split service core, making it flexible for the users to accommodate their different needs. This urban fabric sets a strategy for a productive, resilient and a creative city, with a spatial network that hosts places of exchange that can adapt and evolve over time.


Ada st. cluster






HACKNEY WICK Hackney Wick is one of the most

newly remediated land after the Games�9.

deprived areas in England. It has multiple

Hackney Wick presents unique characters;

land owners and leaseholds. It will be

it benefits from being crossed North to

significantly influenced by the Olympics,

South by the River Lea and is positioned

and by two key opportunities which the

between large parks, like Victoria Park to

Olympic games introduced; “the first

the west, the Olympic park in the east

being the infrastructure left behind by

and the Hackney marshes in the north. Its

the Games, and the second being the

architectural morphology raises attempts

opportunities for development on the

to adapt existing buildings in order to

9. APP Hackney Wick, p.13

Hackney Marshes


Hackney Marshes

Mabley Park

to: Clapton

Legacy IBC/MPC


to: Camden West London

Mabley Park

to: Clapton


to: Stoke Newington to: Finsbury Park

Stratford International

Olympic Park

Legacy IBC/MPC

Homerton to: Waterloo to: Marble Arch

to: Camden West London

Olympic Park


to: Stoke Newington to: Finsbury Park

Hackney Wick

Figure 1

Victoria Park

Hackney Wick

Stratford International

Multi-use Arena

Stratford City


Waterloo Wellto:Street to: Marble Arch Hackney WickCommon AAP Area and Strategic Accessibility

Multi-use Arena

Figure 1

Lea Valley Regional Park

Stratford City

Victoria Park


Well Street AAP Area Hackney WickCommon AAP Area and Strategic Accessibility

Aquatics Centre

AAP Area

Olympic and Legacy Development within AAP

Lea Valley Regional Park

Parklands and Borough Boundary


Open Space

Rail Lines Parklands and Open Space Rail Lines

Bus Routes

Bus Routes


Aquatics Centre

Borough Boundary

Olympic and Legacy Development within AAP

to: Bromley -by-Bow to: Newham

to: Bromley -by-Bow to: Newham Legacy Stadium

Legacy Stadium

Hackney Wick AAP Area and strategic Accesibility

This product includes mapping data licensed from Ordnance Survey with the permission of 100019635. 2012 Publishers 2012

HMSO © the Crown Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. License number. This product includes mapping data licensed from Ordnance Survey with permission of HMSO © Crown Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. License number. 100019635. 2012 Ltd.Reproduced by permission, Harper Collins ©Bartholomew ©Bartholomew Ltd.Reproduced by permission, Harper Collins Publishers 2012

London Legacy Development Corporation

create more productive spaces and give opportunity to the emergence of “a

significant centre of high quality creative and high tech media production and, over time, a cultural and creative quarter with additional shops, eating places and galleries”10.

10. APP Hackney Wick, p.14



BLOCK ORGANIZATION The large number of open spaces that

forming larger building volumes or by

used to be fundamental for manufacturing,

augmenting their spaces through additions.

are now serving the creative industries

The light industrial warehouses have been

for logistic and temporary uses. At the

leased to the thriving art community,

same time, new functions coexist together

with many of them as shared live-work

with the old ones. Many blocks have

units. The new users have transformed

adapted their organization towards the

their spaces through an ad hoc approach,

enhancement of productivity, by either

facilitated by deep plan structures.


Following a research by Richard Brown,

role of existing live-work arrangements in

these diagrams continue to study the spatial

the area’s current cultural foundations, and

arrangements of live and work clusters “In

make a case against their disappearance”11.


11. BROWN, Richard, 12. APP Hackney Wick, p.14

the context of the likely development of some of these sites due to be released from their light industrial zoning, this research project aims to document the key

“Hackney Wick has now become recognised as an important art production area and is home to a flourishing arts community. The area has a high concentration of studio spaces. These spaces are not only occupied by creative practitioners such as designers, artists and galleries, but also by a variety of supporting businesses from printers to event organisers. With the significant number of studios, infrastructure and business in the area, there is the opportunity to allow a model of growth for the CCIs [Creative Cultural Industries] in Hackney Wick that both draws and builds on the existing assets”12


LION WORKS CLUSTER “Old Ford Works is a cluster of 19th century factories at the heart of the Fish Island Conservation area, parts of which were originally steam powered rubber works, and waterproof clothing works, and notably a printing works which specialized in bank notes and postage stamps. This block is now known locally as the “old peanut factory”, because of its brief occupation by Percy Dalston’s peanuts Co. It is now prominently made up of live-work and artist studios. In 2009, around 79 studios were mapped here. Its density and shared yard space has made the complex notorious for its close-knit community of creative practitioners.” 13 13. BROWN, Richard, p.4



OLD FORD WORKS CLUSTER “This cluster of factories falls within an area which at the beginning of the 20th century, was a hot bed of innovation, just meters away from where the first synthetic plastics were invented, as well as the area where the term ‘dry cleaning’ was being coined. These buildings were part of that innovative dry cleaning and contract laundering industry. Today, this mélange of yards & buildings is a mixeduse neighborhood of

light industrial

businesses, cheek by jowl with ‘live-work’ studios. In 2009, just half of this complex was mapped, with a finding of around 20 studios.” 14 14. BROWN, Richard, p.30




LESSON LEARNED FROM THE SPONTANEOUS The given definition of Spontaneous in this

interrelations in the urban environment.

book is for urban developments that were

Apart from various sizes, these urban

not part of a Masterplan and happened

elements can reach effectively beyond

naturally following the logics of economic

the physical built environment, as they



influence the operation of a set of

emergence of places for knowledge

activities and different clusters, and create

exchange is a major factor of the success

distinct synergies; that could be seen in

of the studied areas, and a most powerful

the amalgamation of punctuated activities

source of the quality of the city; which as

through a neighborhood that collectively

seen by the latest comments of politicians

form the life of Hoxton, Shoreditch and

about the Tech City, plays an important

Old Street.

role in the economy as well as in politics.

Far from being naïve and crediting the

This research put emphasis on the quality

success of these places to purely spatial

and character of these spontaneous

aspects, this research is aware of economic,

synergies, which is a main factor for what

political and historical factors, which most

could be called a knowledge economy

of the time are the great players over a

in London. It aims to grasp the different

spontaneous growth. These synergies take

ways of its emergence, and to understand

place in East London, as they benefit from

the specificities of these places.


the presence of infrastructure, affordable

analyzed situations displayed in this

prices, connectivity and adjacency to

chapter, present a range of elements and

housing zones. Nonetheless, the spatial

physical conditions, which combined and

qualities and the morphologies of the

assembled, create a knowledge economy

studied cases provide a rich ensemble of

and a resilient urban fabric.

organizations and operation of clusters’

These case studies were chosen to

combinations, which foster and enable

represent a broad range of scales of

such urban ecologies. This research aims

effectiveness. The spatial conditions of

to capture the spatial elements of these

the clusters vary in size, where some are

situations, such as courtyards and shared

within the building space – like Zetland

spaces, in order to understand their

House – that operates and organizes itself

relation with the daily productivity and

in a different way than clusters within

appropriation of spaces.




a block or spine, that create different



Mixed Uses+Operation

Collective realm


PLAN Noun › A detailed proposal for doing or achieving something; › A detailed map or diagram; › A diagram showing how something will be arranged VERB (plans, planning, planned) › Decide on and make arrangements for in advance › Design or make a plan of (something to be made or built) (Oxford Dictionary)








CARPENTERS’ ESTATE This part of the document combines the analysis of the existing conditions and the proposals of UCL in Carpenters’ Estate and IKEA in Sugar House Lane.

Carpenters’ Estate is a council housing estate that used to house the workers of London’s factories built along the River Lea and is a community of local workers ever since. In 2012, University College of London

Section through the existing fabric


Exissting conditions


Section A

Section B

Section C

Sections through the Stratford high st.

Section D




Section E-W



Section N-S

open space underutilised

Row housing

movement cul-de-sac

Tower block

Building Types

UCL Proposed

Built Mass x%

Voids x%


UCL Proposal


Proposed Infrastructure

Proposed Built Mass x%


(UCL) published its interest in moving part of its activities to East London, specifically to Carpenters’ Estate. Its plans Voids x%

for redevelopment includes: academic

Proposed Infrastructure

activities, sports and leisure facilities,

Proposed Block Pattern

housing for students, family housing for Proposed Built Mass x%

staff and the non-UCL community. These facilities will be spread along a green spine REGULAR GRID + DIAGONAL



that connects Stratford Old Town to the Grid Analysis



Greenway. The objective of studying their

solids and voids

plan is to understand how a university Proposed Infrastructure

Hierarchy of street structure Proposed Block Pattern

Solids + Voids

Hierarchy of Street Structure

Proposed Block Pattern



Interiority + Porosity of Ground Floor Interiority + Porosity of Ground Floor

Residential + Mixed Use Within Regular Grid

Residential + Mixed Use Within Regular Grid

Voids Along Central Spine Voids Along Central Spine

Institutional Along Diagonal Grid

Institutional Along Diagonal Grid

Access Into Site Access Into Site



campus could change the neighborhood and what were the main principles of a formal proposed masterplan that does not take into consideration the existing conditions, nor the surrounding ecologies. The existing fabric of Carpenters’ Estate has a scattered grain of small row housing and a few tower buildings surrounded by vast pieces of underutilized land in the form of parking lots. The movement within Carpenters’ Estate


Residential +mixed use

Section E-W

Section N-S open space Privileged

Perimeter block

Courtyard block Podium Tower Bar building

movement Through

Building Types


UCL Proposl


is restricted by theBLOCK? existence of cul-de-sac MEGA Classification of Building Types

1. Courtyard Block

Classification of Building Types

roads and an irregular road pattern. UCL proposes dense blocks defining the street edges and small courtyards. A regular


grid pattern by ensure easy accessibility. Enclosure


Though the building typology and the highly articulated courtyards enhance the privatisation and create privileged public spaces.

Internal Structure

Internal Structure

Internal Structure

To facilitate the new mix of uses, UCL Exterior Void

introduces into its proposal a greater Void variety of Exterior building types, including mega

Exterior Void


perimeter block, courtyard block, podium tower andSolid bar building. Although, it is important to realize that the ability of the region to absorb the increase in density,


and the presence of affordable housing remains questionable. PODIUM TOWER

Classification of Building Types


Classification of Building Types

2. Podium Tower Enclosure

Facades Enclosure

Internal Structure

Internal Structure

Internal Structure

Solid Solid




Existing Condition in Sugar house Lane


Existing condition


EXISTING CONDITIONS Sugar House Lane (SHL) is in the middle of the Lea Valley, South to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Its industrial past follows the surrounding area, where one can notice the growth in the grain and fabric in comparison with other regions in the North. It was, until very recently,

Section thtough the canal

Industrial Structure



the location for a number of warehouses and the entrance for 3 Mills Studios – the largest shooting studio in London. “It was

declared a conservation area in 2008, giving protection to some of the older industrial buildings on the site”15. In 2010, the Swedish furniture multinational company “IKEA” bought a great part of the ‘island’ –which is surrounded by a system of canals and the upcoming district along Stratford High Street. The site is now being cleared to host a proposal of a mixed use complex. In IKEA’s plan, the site is maximized by creating very dense block patterns, but the public character of it is being restricted along the high street edge. Also, they claim that the proposal will form a mix of different building types, that will lead to a hierarchy of open spaces, but that is also still not clear. From what has been published till the present day, the proposal does not include much public character, with rigid blocks the only remaining porosity for Stratford High Street lies in Dane’s Yard. The comparison between IKEA’s proposal and King’s Cross redevelopment set aside the difference in scale between the two masterplans and focuses on how large pieces of land can be successful in introducing a mixed development. The King’s Cross development is successful in terms of mixed-use and accessibility to the public. It is also readapts industrial buildings

15. Stratford Website

IKEA proposal





and preserve the special character inherited from its past. Another component which is related to the comparison is the treatment of the edge conditions towards the canal, and whereas in Kings Cross the potential of this edge has been maximize, the IKEA’s proposal fails to do so. The set of principles which masterplans such as King’ s Cross provides is in providing the rules of growth for the grain, grid and infrastructure. Thus the comparison between the two masterplans were in their approach to re-adaptation and preservation of the local heritage, the opportunity for mix-use, formulating a grain and grid and introducing

© Miller Hare Ltd

King’s Cross Redevelopment

King’s Cross Re-adaptation

IKEA Proposal


RE-ADAPTIAION collective spaces. Though the industrial buildings in Sugar house lane could be an opportunity for readapting spaces as they are flexible and have a unique character of the Three Mile Studio, the IKEA Proposal preserve only one building in Dane’s yard. The existing buildingd can create a productive environment with a variety of uses that Readapted structure Structure proposed for redevelopment

Suger House lane Re-adaptation

Sugar House Lane Redevelopment



MIX USES could benefit the area.

well as residential and commercial ones.

Although there is an amount of mix use

In the IKEA plan the dominant use is

in the IKEA plan, it is limited and mostly

residential with a clear spatial division and

private or for commercial use. The King’s

segregation of the other uses which are

Cross proposal shows a variety of public

situated in the north of the site towards

uses such as educational and cultural as

Residential Retail/Luisure Offices Public spaces Culture/Education/ Hotel

King’s Cross Mix Use

IKEA Proposal





Block Structure



EDGE CONDITIONS the high street. The two sites deal with a similar edge condition; one for the canal and the other for a main transportation route. The King’s Cross

example presents a

thoughtful design in which a public plaza is created

along the water edges and

connected to the pedestrian path along the canal. The water edge becomes one of the main component of the development with many open spaces and creating a connection from east and west. The IKEA site plans shows a concentration of many building volumes next to the water edge, making the canal edge private and

King’s Cross Edge Conditions

profitable for the investor but with little effort in creating a continuous linkage or a path along the canal.

Edge Condition: Main Route

Edge Condition: Canal

IKEA Proposal

IKEA site access


IKEA’s Edge Conditions

Edge Condition: Main Route

Edge Condition: Canal



LESSON LEARNED FROM PLANNED STRATEGIES Planned developments will always be

At last, these types of plans can never be

a detailed proposal, map or diagram,

disassociated with the client’s concerns,

showing how a site will be arranged. They

and therefore the economic trends

will always present a design that calculates

of the region. They are a true battle

different aspects of

urbanity (from

of interests, where society might be

architecture to social, economic and

included, but politics are always involved.

politics), and are naturally driven by one

In the architecture scale, planning for

planning force, that leads the decisions

such large pieces of land can lead to

and makes the arrangements in advance.

the loss of intrinsic details of the actual

The planned intervention usually enables

functioning of areas, as well as its identity

the urban designer to play in a Tabula

and existing physicality. This research sets

Rasa concept. The professional then,

for the next chapters the challenge of

can manage to establish a thoughtful

testing ways of integrating the qualities of

infrastructure network that connects the

planned developments, at the same time

specific area in multiple scales, and gives

as minimizing the listed “side-effects� of

back to the city a spatial strategy. Not only


that, the planned development allows one to test on different typologies of blocks, that addresses the density issues in the area, according to the targeted proposal of the client; and also, the proposals compose grains on legitimate grids, that give clear definition of streets through hierarchal relationships. In this research, the urban planned interventions





architectural qualities, in order to extract a set of principles from them. Overall, these include perseverance of unique building and re-adaptation of


space, by a thoughtful program which allow their usage and propose mixed use developments, collective spaces and the forming of a grain which would promote desirable synergies.









This document presents tests in two

connected transport infrastructure such

different areas. The first one is in Hackney

as the London Overground, frequent bus


services and access to the sub regional

Hackney Wick, as said previously in the

strategic road network. Stratford is a major

first chapter, is a post-industrial zone

transport hub within a miles distance,

with new housing developments, existing

and links the area to Stansted Airport,

small manufacturers and big industrial

Cambridge and Europe.

sheds, framed by the A12 and the canal.

Hackney Wick’s grain shows a clear

The AAP (Area Action Plan) for Hackney

division of uses; the area in the North is

Wick shares the view that the unique built

a residential neighborhood, with access

form of the area “should be seen as a

to an enhanced local community centre,

significant regeneration opportunity that

while the middle part has a dense grain,

influence future development proposals

which gives the opportunity of mixed

and contribute to the development of

uses, that the sparse grain of the housing

new character areas” .

and the big grain of the industries in South

Although fragmented in character and

do not allow.


separated from the continuous fabric by the A12, Hackney Wick benefits from well

16. Hackney Wick Area Action Plan, p.17

Hackney Wick


Dense Dispersed Big grain Small grain Canal Overground Roads


Grain and Infrastructure


Olympic Legacy development & Leyton


Mabley Green

Olympic Legacy development & Leyton

Employment within Legacy IBC/MPC


The Baths Community Centre

Mabley Green

Playing Fields Employment within Legacy IBC/MPC The Baths CommunitySt Mary of Eton Centre

Olympic Park Gainsborough School

Hackney Central Playing Fields Gainsborough School

Hackney Wick Area Action Plan (Figure 9)

St Mary of Eton

Multi-use Arena

Hackney Central

Figure 9 Enhancing Connectivity Figure 9 AAP Boundary Enhancing Connectivity Neighbourhood Destinations AAPExisting/Future Boundary Vehicular Route Neighbourhood DestinationsRoute Potential Vehicular Existing/Future Vehicular Route Improved/New Pedestrian and Cycle Link Potential Vehicular Route London Overground Improved/New Pedestrian and Cycle Link London BusOverground Routes Bus Routes Waterways Victoria Park Waterways Opportunity for Improved/New Opportunity for Improved/New Connection Connection

Stratford City

Multi-use Arena

Hackney Wick station Hackney Wick station

Olympic Legacy development & Stratford

Victoria Park

The AAP for Hackney Wick reveals the

The AAP for Hackney Wick proposes an

opportunities and potentials of the area;

urban structure based on key nodes and

it identifies the productive clusters, the

corridors which will determine pedestrian

heritage of the buildings and provides

movements and activities. It suggests the

guidelines for a future redevelopment of a

upgrading of key connection points and

hub of creative and cultural activities. The

the improvement in quality of the public

challenges of this area, as presented in

realm by the existing roads, connecting the

the AAP: to manage the new investments

area to surrounding parks.

while retaining its spatial character and

The AAP proposal starts the sequence

enhancing creative and cultural industries,

of redevelopment by creating the ‘hub’

together with improved services and

through a new building, which will integrate

infrastructure which will enhance the

the Overground Station, protect and

accessibility and the attractiveness of the

preserve listed buildings. This hub would


provide a place for the creative industries

17. Hackney Wick Area Action Plan, p.48

Olym devel

Hackney Wick


Existing Clusters

in a mix use environment. It will be “the

heart of a creative ‘hot spot’ that will underpin the expansion of East London’s flourishing creative and cultural sector and to provide a range of services for the existing and new communities in this area offering local shops, cafés, restaurants, places to live and places of employment and culture”17. The AAP identifies the existing creative clusters but does not set tools to keep their existing activities and to contribute to their enhancement of productivity. The ‘hub’ proposal encourages concentration



of public investment in one spot, which will initiate the redevelopment of the area. Taking this step as the first in a sequence might not only erase the existing conditions, but also encourage future developments to treat the area as a clear ground, which will bring in investments without much regulation. “Creative





important role to play in driving forward regeneration...





identified other key clusters of specialized industries at Hackney Wick, Fish Island, and New Spitalfields. These sectors should be




development proposals that recognize the needs of these industries”18 . The development in these areas, according to the LLV plan, “should be sensitive to local

characteristics, both in terms of the built heritage and the natural environment”19. The test presented in this area aims to introduce a sensitive approach for new built environment, both in terms of the unique spatial characters and the understanding of the operation of these clusters, as a crucial


Hackney Wick

factor in their redevelopment. The ‘spine’ created by an optional route, interweaves the clusters with the canal edge and


18. Hackney Wick Area Action Plan, p.22 19. Hackney Wick Area Action Plan, p.23

creates high quality of public realm and better connectivity to the Lower Lea Valley. Also, the spine enhances the area by creating synergies between the existing smaller industries and the proposed developments; it connects clusters which were identified by the AAP, with others to form a route to promote the interrelation between these spaces and thus enhance their productivity.

Spatial Strategy


Different types of


conditions were

yard is shared by different industries and

identified in the existing clusters; the yard,

creates communal and productive spaces.

and the other one is the mews. Within

The linear path within a sequence of

the existing clusters the open space of the

industries contributes to the accessibility

Hackney Wick


Yard Cluster


Linear Path

of the cluster. The distribution of ground

activities. In addition, several conditions of

level uses to the upper levels and the

small open spaces are combined in a larger,

extension of the ecologies upwards shows

less defined yard that relate to the context

the efficiency in the organization of the

of other shared open spaces.


The test for the ‘spine’ of public realm flows through the organization and operation of the existing clusters, while promoting a mix of new and existing built environment. It suggests a development which could protect the industries, as the LLV plan aims, and aggregates non-industrial activities that “could be introduced into such an

area without incurring an overall net loss of industrial capacity through more efficient use of sites”20. The proposed enhancement of the existing synergies and the redevelopment of the canal edge for public and communal activities, is the first step in the sequence of redevelopment for the area. After that, it is believed that new developments, including the hub, can follow this step and be guided by the principles framed in this test and in accordance with the AAP.

20. Hackney Wick Area Action Plan, p.21



Hackney Wick



a. Canal Edge

Alongside the spine, the approach presented follows the LLV guides, where any new proposal for the development of the water edge should “improve public

access to waterside land [and] should not preclude this possibility�21 . The canal edge proposal is an armature that frames the area; it aims to enhance public realm, communal activities and to integrate new

b. Canal Edge: Existing Residential Development

Hackney Wick

interventions with the improvement of existing clusters. The canal edge strategy inserts a new built frame that could be enlarged and changed with time to host temporary and permanent uses. It tests different conditions in which this strategy could be implemented; where existing

c. Canal Edge: Existing industries

residential will be combined with new developments.

21. Hackney Wick Area Action Plan, p.27

d. Canal Edge: New industries

e. Canal Edge: New industries




One example shows a built frame on the canal front, that can work alone or in combination with existing structures to bridle the new interventions in the area and create active public realm. Over the South end of the proposal is Forman’s Fish Island, one of the empty sites of Fish Island that remains clear waiting for the best moment of profiting. The area lies between new residential developments, one of the reminiscent food processing factories (Salmon Industry) and old industrial buildings readapted to host a large number of creative companies and start-ups enterprises. It is also on the edge of the Green Way pedestrian path that crosses the Olympic Park West-East. The strategy used for this project would combine an appropriation of the pedestrian path that the clusters spine would create, and a sequence of public spaces along it. In this cluster, the main spatial idea is to propose open and narrow spaces, and mixed uses. Therefore, the first building has open floors for companies that need adaptability, with the ground floor of commercial use; the second building has two sides of social housing and workshops in the middle; and the last one has the boundaries settled but is open for the private market to choose the best way of developing it.

Forman’s Fish Island

Hackney Wick

White Post Lane Yard

Wallis Rd. Block







Another cluster tested was the “White Post Lane Yard”, next to the Hackney Wick Overground Station. The test combines retaining the existing building

1. Forman’s Fish Island

and proposing new constructions above them, in a light weight structure for live and work spaces. The buildings that are composed of one façade towards the canal will be residential, and the other ones facing the yard, shall retain its existing uses and activities of small manufacturing and culture promotion. This test aimed to distinguish the façades and the way in which the building operates to the public realm, and its productivity by creating new relationships within the block. The last test was in the industrial area North of Hackney Wick Station. The block includes small mainly logistic industries as well as diverse manufacturers. A large middle court that is used by both sides supports the productivity of the block. The test attempts to redefine the relations

2. White Post Lane Yard

Hackney Wick

with the adjacent canal, by wiping out the existing buildings facing it, whereas at the same time keeps the internal ones. So, there are two different routes created: the internal one, which is used for access by the vehicles serving the businesses, and a 3. Wallis Rd. Block

second one next to the canal. The last one relates to the new buildings designed in a way that allows the public realm to spread through their ground floor.



The most detailed test of the approach is in Queen’s Yard site. The existing sequence of manufactures works within a yard which serves the surrounding industries and offices. The existing open space is used for parking purposes, logistics as well as access for the several smaller yards within the building volumes. In the proposed test the space was divided into two parts; collective space which is serviced by the surrounding streets, and another collective space adjacent to the river will be used for the enhancement of the public realm on the canal edge.


Hackney Wick




Few buildings of the block were retained

existing tenants. There is a mix of uses

and re-adapted in order to keep the

ranging from more industrial situated on

current manufacturing, while the proposed

the West side, forming a secondary cluster

new buildings give the opportunity for new

within the larger one, and recreational

volumes to arise with additional activities,

activities, to take place next to the canal

and complement the retained ones. The

edge following the current trend of cafĂŠ/

buildings and the yards share exchange of

restaurant which will be joined by a series

activities and allow future expansions to

of spaces with a cultural orientation such

form different ecologies in several points

as theatre, bookshop and etc.

of the block.

The diagrams reveal the principles of

The ground floor plan shows the

accessibility and circulation, public realm

interrelation of spaces within the building

and mixed uses, which were taken in the

and the yards. This organization will

design approach of this test. The new

enhance the productivity of the cluster by

path will provide a more direct connection

combining unique uses such as: logistics,

to the station and will promote relations

loading-unloading, and parking for the

between the different clusters of the

different industries. The buildings will

whole area. The open spaces will connect

also include workshops, labs, studios and

the ground floor and allow direct access to

recreational areas, and the open spaces

the buildings and in between them.

will be shared by the occupiers and the

The test attempts to incorporate the


Public realm





Hackney Wick


principles shown into a spatial space by creating two squares with differentiated uses; the industrial square is a double height space in which the lower level serves the manufacturers and shelters the upper levels from the undesirable effects of the

Workshop Retail

industries. The upper level of the square

Live/ Work

is used for leisure and links to other uses


surrounding it. This is a place of transition from the one side of the activities to the

Office Continuous Public Realm Circulation

other. The West side square is by the ground level and serves the public realm with different public uses distributed around the canal edge.

Spatiality and Uses


The mixing of uses in various spaces within the buildings promote the interrelationships between different sectors of the economy of the area, and therefore provide a unique opportunity for ecologies to emerge. The design of the plans allows adaptability for the needs of the tenants. The balance kept between the existing and the new built is one of the basic elements that encourages diverse collaborations to emerge between the different businesses situated in the new cluster.


Hackney Wick


section 1

section 2




FRAGMENTED FABRIC The next test sets place in the areas South

Today, the areas present a sequence

to Stratford Station, known as Carpenters’

of new high residential towers along

Estate, Bright Water Lane, Pudding Mill

Stratford High Street, and a fragmented

and Sugar House Lane. After the Olympic

fabric waiting for the new Queen Elizabeth

Games, these areas were left in a piecemeal

Olympic Park to boost the land values and

way, with great possibility to receive a large

local investments.

amount of investments at once, for the cleared sites. The canals surroundings the neighborhoods and Stratford High Street, left them acting as isolate islands, and private investors started to act in the area without any restriction nor further control.

Fragmentation- Stratford High Street



The first attempt of this study is to see these large pieces of land in a more integrated way with the surroundings. If the main idea of this work is to bring the city to the old industrial East London, in the same way these sites need to have a discourse between them and back to Stratford and London. As mentioned earlier, Carpenters’ Estate is under the radar of UCL, and Sugar House Lane was bought by IKEA. Therefore, these two sites present the real challenge of being redeveloped through Masterplans. This test proposes to take a closer look in these interventions and aim for a way of changing the strong enclosed character of both plans.

Strategy of Redevelopment

Strategy- Overlapping of Neighbourhoods



STRATEGIC NODES OF INTERVENTION Strategic nodes within the areas are identified to test the principles of porosity, mixed-use and importance of public spaces that could be implemented along with the masterplans proposed for these areas.

Strategic nodes of intervention

Sugar House Lane


SUGAR HOUSE LANE IKEA’s proposal for Sugar House Lane, as explained before, combines residential, commercial and office spaces. The spaces created in between the buildings vary in size, but mostly constitutes of closed yards where only the occupants of the buildings would go. In the corner of the Island, between the canal and Stratford High Street, it was identified the Dane’s Yard, as one of the strategic nodes mentioned above where one could test a more integrated strategy.

Test Area- Danes Yard

Section through New developments along High Street

Section through Existing fabric along High Street


Catalog mockup for IKEA’s Strand East neighborhood in London (original image: LandProp Services)


“Inter IKEA took their first tentative steps into the work of urban design in 2009 when they purchased 11 hectares (about 27 acres) of land south Olympic Park with the intent to develop the area into a new neighborhood, which will be known as Strand East. Presumably, the project is a part of the much touted Olympic Park regeneration plan – or, at the very least, an attempt to capitalize on the promised redevelopment. The 1,200 home project will be developed by LandProp Services, the real estate branch of Inter IKEA. The community will exclusively consist of rental units, which will all be owned –though not furnished!– by IKEA. It will also include more than 500,000 sq ft of commercial space and a hotel.”22

22. STAMP, Jimmy

Sugar House Lane- Danes Yard


DANES YARD Dane’s Yard is a readapted old industrial building, with workspaces at the upper levels and a restaurant on the ground level. It forms part of the new public space that Strand East has created along the canal edge, with the 47m tall sculpture erected at the front. The existing public front along the NorthEast edge of Sugar House Lane, gives the

Existing Public Space- DanesYard

opportunity to rework with the IKEA proposal of creating private office spaces along the High Street edge. At the same time, it introduces mixed use public facilities to enhance the accessibility into the island, and utilizes the canal edge as possible modes of transition. The intervention at Dane’s Yard is to test the possibility of introducing public facilities and affordable workspaces into a private development. The test involves re-establishing the character of the area by introducing an open block cluster of mixed use unlike the IKEA’s proposal of Adaptation of Danes Yard

Section through Danes Yard



perimeter block structures. The organization of the blocks around Dane’s Yard, as shown in the plans, is to create multiple points of access into the site, at the same time as it utilizes the potential of the canal edge as a connection with the Olympic Park. The spatial organization of the proposed blocks is to create multiple levels of public access throughout the volume, as learnt from the exemplars in Old Street. Small floor’s plates within the structure give the opportunity to be adapted by small businesses. The intervention tests the capacity of the canal

Intervention at Danes Yard- Plan

edge to become part of the public realm and to form an integral part of the overall strategy for the area. The possibility of revitalizing the canal front would create new movement patterns through the Lower Lea Valley and heal the distorted fabric of the surrounding.

Intervention at Danes Yard- Block Organisation

Intervention at Danes Yard- Section showing Canal walkway

Test1: Danes Yard


Leisure Live/ Work

Intervention at Danes Yard- Block Organisation/ Canal Walkway



TEST 2: WATER EDGE- INTEGRATOR The Bright Water Lane was the location for the “Acrise Freight Depot” and Neopolis Holdings Apartments, before being cleared to be occupied with ventures for the 2012 Olympic Games. The area is has the Railway lines running on one end, Stratford High Street on the other and the Canal by the remaining two sides. The Greenway that runs from Fish Island, through Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park towards South Stratford, cuts the site and has the potential to become a major pedestrian link from North to South and West to East. This tests sees the canal edge as an important tool for integration in the area - instead of the common idea of it as barrier - and has the potential to become a truly public space that can link the surrounding neighborhoods. Therefore, it was proposed a series of activities within the buildings and along the waterfront’s open spaces to overflow on either side of the canal and form three dimensional connections.

Node 2 - Intervention at water edge

Test 2: Water Edge


Integrated Development of the Canal Edge



TEST 3: KNOWLEDGE BASED CLUSTER Accepting that the institutional dimension

The test is carried out on a block on the

of UCL’s proposal would enhance the

edge of the UCL’s proposal site. It was

larger strategy for the redevelopment of

chosen to accept the original physicality

the region, the test of the area is based on

of the proposal for the area as a whole,

how knowledge based clusters manifest

but as in IKEA’s case, a strategic node was

their selves spatially on the Carpenters’

selected to have a design more integrated

Estate site, with the inclusion of the

with the surroundings and with a stronger

principles learnt before.

public character. In UCL’s proposal for

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

Existing Carpenters Estate

UCL Proposal for Carpenters Estate

Test 3: Carpenters’ Estate


the specific site, there is a tower and a perimeter block, the intervention then takes it as the base for test but implements concepts such as flow of movement and access. There is a complex relationship between the different functions and uses in the knowledge economy. Before moving to the spatial configuration, the interrelationships between the four main aspects of work, institution, residential and research have been studied. The test tries to incorporate this intrinsic complexity of networks in a spatial design.

Test Area- Block in UCL Proposal

Non- Spatial Relationship in Knowledge cluster





The principles of typology and massing can manifest themselves in numerous different forms. There are usually two possible ways of mixing uses within a block, either be an open block system with different buildings forming a network, or the tower and podium structure with different uses stacked within a single building. They create different spatial

Typology and Massing

qualities, accessibility at multiple levels and differentiation of spaces.

Spatial Organisation- Indicating Differentiation of Spaces

Test 3: Carpenters’ Estate



Typology and Massing

Spatial Organisation- Public Interface within built form

Iterations of Block Organisation within Cluster




Block Organisation- Hybrid Cluster

Movement and Porosity within cluster

Test 3: Carpenters’ Estate


The test tries to create a hybrid between the open block and the tower typology. The organization of the blocks creates possible movement patterns within the cluster, and there are a series of public spaces arranged across the buildings. The volume creates multiple access points and a hierarchy of the open spaces. Upper Level- Spatial Organisation

Ground Level- BLock Organisation

Public Accessible Private Shared

Proposal- Spatial organisation



One of the main features of the proposal is a complex mix of different functions; these include residential, institutional, workspaces, public spaces and retail. Their distribution is such that it promotes the occurrence of the desired synergies. Spillover public space at different levels is given to enhance the possibility of informal exchange of ideas.


Mixed Use- Knowledge Cluster

Test 3: Carpenters’ Estate


Various options for detailed individual research labs were tested. In one type the built space is split apart forming a common spill over space (collective space) with restricted access, functioning separately but with the network of institutions. The other type is one with built form on one side, framing an open lounge, which may be a place of exchange or an exhibition space.

Sectional View showing mixed use cluster- Residential, Institutional, Commercial

Section AA- Collective space at multiple levels



Another detail designed is for a combined live and work unit, where the ground level can be used for research or work and the upper level as residential. The above floors in the same block could become spaces for student accommodation, with shared facilities.

Adaptable Spaces- Live/ Work

Research lab- Knowledge cluster

Test 3: Carpenters’ Estate


The principles of interaction at different levels are implemented in the cluster. The spatial strategy in the form of a defined differentiated grain, accessibility by transport infrastructure, controlled porosity and regulation of uses and types would ensure the resilience of the cluster in this knowledge economy.

Section BB- Collective space at multiple levels

Section CC- Porous Ground level




CONCLUSIONS In a context of pressure for redevelopment

“Maximising the use of this land and the

waiting to happen, this is a unique

industrial land that is retained indicates

opportunity for the regeneration and

that the LLV would have the capacity to

restructure of an entire urban district in

deliver between 30,000 and 40,000 new

East London. This research sought to grasp

homes (with at least 44% required as

different characteristics which make the

family housing) and 50,000 new jobs.”1 In

quality of ‘central’ London so desirable,

addition to these uses, the LLV plan calls

and for so many decades considered one

for a “Working Valley” which will retain

of the best cities in the world. London

operational industrial activities that are

has many clusters of knowledge economy

important for the performance of the

spread around its neighborhoods, as

local or the city’s economy and labor.

the metropolis is attractive to the best

The Olympic Legacy Plan follows the

professionals from all over the world

aims of the LLV plan and also aims to

looking for jobs and better lives. For

“regenerate a community which could

many decades the city has relied on its

directly benefit from the plan”2 . Its

production of knowledge and maintained

approach tries to combine the event-led

itself at the core of the financial world.

development with a broader context of

East London was a tear in the fabric

the Lower Lea Valley and East London. It

of the city, though after the global

focus its attention on the attractiveness

crisis and with the decision to host the

of the area for residential development

Olympic Games, the area raises a field

which draws its potential from Lower Lea

of opportunities with vast post industrial

Valley parks and canals and the new sports

land waiting to redevelop and provisions

venues built for the Olympics.

for investments in infrastructure. These

The LLV and the Olympic Legacy Plan

dynamics are advantageous for private

contribute significantly to the current

market investments as can be seen in

development of the area, by stimulating

developments along the edge of the area

the private market by public investments

such as Westfield in Stratford, a commercial

in improving connectivity to the area;

centre. Also, Stratford takes the advantage

such as improving the Overground, the

of the North-South corridor all the way to

international Stratford train station, and

Cambridge and the rail connections to the

the roads. These plans direct the provision

entire United Kingdom and Europe.

of resources such as infrastructure and

The Lower Lea Valley plan sets a strategy

the land and regulate future developments

to develop the lands which will be released

in terms of physical guidelines as well as

with the withdrawal of industries by

activities and uses.

1. LLV Opportunity Area Planning Framework, p.iii 2. London’s Candidate File for the 2012 Games


The efficiency of the planned approach

applied recipe, but could be evident in the

can benefit knowledge based clusters in

environments defined here as spontaneous

terms of the overall context; improved

urban developments. The challenge of


this study was to seek the principles, the



and their






operational and the spatial dynamics of the

addition, by regulating developments

spontaneous development, and compare

towards retaining affordable spaces shall

it to the planned in the larger context and

provide incubator spaces for growing Hi-

to implement both in different test places,

Tech businesses, and is crucial for long

with different existing scenarios.

term resilience of these industries. The

The two tests presented gather all the

plan can also give guidelines for the spatial

elements taken from the analysis showed

environment, introducing types of building

in the first chapter. The argument about

and regulating areas with mixed use in

spontaneous and planned is not about

addition to housing.

imposing Masterplans, but rearranging

Within this context, and returning to the

spatial principles in a combined strategy. It

questions proposed in the beginning of this

would vary from adaptable and affordable

document, this research found elements


and situations that encourage a more

spaces, mixed use and differentiation and

thoughtful urban growth. The tests show

controlled porosity, together with the

that the main strategy was to carefully

principles of the plan; its efficiency of

maximize the existing potential and identity

defining the grain and grid, the accessibility

of each area, by keeping things where they


work and principles learnt taken from

regulation of uses and types which can

different sites as an insertion to the urban

specify the articulation of open spaces. All

fabric. All this, while respecting the natural

these elements, in different appearances

tendency of the place following the trends,

can thus create synergies and resilience for

existed and created, which continue the

a knowledge based economy.

production of knowledge prioritizing new

This study had three interventions in

business and spaces for young minds.

different scales of effectiveness which try

This study intends to find the intangible

to implement these principles. However,

relations that made places like Old Street,

being critical to the proposals, one can start

Hoxton and Cambridge Heath, places

to see more than just the above elements.

of emergence of creative clusters. The

If both tests manage to support the best

success of these places is hard to grasp,

features of a plan in different contexts, in

as it is not visible or made out of an

both cases one can realize the difficulties









found in applying them to a real condition.

be integrated to the city rather than a

The first one is in Hackney Wick, in the

conceptual gated neighborhood. As the

context of existing spontaneous urban

previous test, it displays many elements

growth and strong activity from the private

taken from the study cases of the first

market – although still with little physical

chapter, and the main goal in this case was



to play with the block structures and the

bringing a constant tension to the area. This

idea of hybrids, for their qualities valuable

test aims to benefit a larger scale than its

to major entrepreneurial institutions.

size by introducing a set of interdependent

These hybrids do not give an exact solution

initiatives, as the local ambience already

for insertion in a larger context, nor with


their interface with the other parts of the









proposals such as the perimeter blocks

regulations prepares the ground for further

and towers. Also, the set of principles for

development. In addition to the regulation,

future ventures is based on their spatial

the proposal consists of a series of

organization and prevent their possible

principles taken from spontaneous study

multiplication. It is important to emphasise

cases as well as from a detailed architectural

that these buildings should refrain from

solution. The architectural elements here

being multiplied, as they gather a strong

introduced, answer a scale of interference

relationship with the existing sites, although

beyond the blocks themselves, to gather

the different principles could naturally

a set of principles and local needs from

spread through the rest of the proposal in

them. The idea is to create an urban design

a subtle manner, as was initially desired.

more resilient and with different degrees

Testing masterplans and their context

of commitment from local boroughs and

in an architectural approach gives the

private market initiatives. The proposal

opportunity to view how developments

cannot be duplicated, nor replicated

could be reorganized cohesively with

spatially; it derives from the area itself. The

their surrounding character. In addition,

test is, therefore, the reflection of a series

this study concludes with the importance

of measures and boundaries that should

of the intangible elements of the spatial

be added as an exemplar to documents

disposition of a resilient fabric of an urban

like the AAP and LLV.


The two last tests are in an opposite context, where the sites can be seen as a Tabula Rasa for strong private market interventions. The interventions aim to transform initiatives of enclosed spaces into more accessible sites, that could


Paris Rive Gauche,Learning from a Mega projects, IAURIF


Railway land in 1980’s- Rive Gauche

Paris Rive Gauche was a redevelopment project of vacant industrial and cargo terminals. As a regeneration project, Rive Gauche aimed at integrating the vacant fabric by introducing new land for housing, institution and office space. The project by itself, though massive in the area it covered, was strategically important in the regeneration process.

“The Seine Rive Gauche project concerns the whole Paris region. It has to do with the position the region will take tomorrow in Europe and in the World. Beyond the Latin Quarter, will emerge a cultural area of international dimension” Chirac, Jacques; In Lecroart, Paul,pg.3

The political will and the strong opposition by the public in privatising the entire land led to massive changes in the programs within Rive Gauche. The major changes included less office building, more university and R&D and an increase in the public housing sector as compared to the original idea of private market housing and office space.

Rive Gauche proposal- 1990’s

The introduction of the National Library within the project has been vital in regenerating the public interface within the area. The scale of the project provides interesting lessons on ways of phasing mass redevelopment and the importance of introducing publically accessible facilities within large Masterplan projects that would integrate the fabric rather than creating large areas of private developments.

section through National library- waterfront

ALMERE, Netherlands

With the establishment in 1976, Almere has been one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. It has grown into the status of Holland’s most exemplary new town. In just 36 years it has attracted over 195,000 residents and 14,500 businesses. Almere national started railway because

is well connected with Amsterdam by the railway system and the motorways. The railway its service in 1987. Now there are a total of 6 stations. The traffic infrastructure is recognizable of its separate lanes for cycles, cars and buses. .

The city was designed as a number of semi-separate nuclei, each with their own residential districts,facilities and identity,connected through a shared infrastructure and a common city center. Almere Stad’s area is around 2380 ha and is subdivided into the areas Almere Stad Oost, Almere Stad West and the city center. masterplan-oma.htm

Almere- Connections with Amsterdam

Almere Stad- Stations

Almere City Center is the city’s retail and leisure hub; a blend of stores, restaurants, bars and cultural facilities . With the World Trade Center Almere Area (WTCAA) and the business center behind Almere’s main railway station (Almere Centrum), the city center is also an important business location.

Almere as a city complements and challenges Amsterdam at the same time. The advantages of its way of creation were: having oriented public transports, a large amount of housing options, arrangement of mixed-used and single function quaters, and the city centre hub. The setbacks are the lack of sub centres that compliment the city centre..

Almere Stad- City Centre almerecitycentral

Almere’s city center is filled with a slew of iconic structures. In anticipation of significant population growth, a vast extension of the city center facilities was a crucial part of the ambition to transform Almere into a complete and attractive city. In 1995, OMA developed a Masterplan that completed and complemented the center’s existing surroundings. The final element to be implemented was the state-of-the-art public library that opened in March, 2010.

LIVE / WORK UNITS The concept of Live/Work was first developed in the 1990s in east London, where properties were converted into Live/Work spaces. More recently, Live/Work has become popular as a result of the increased cost of acquiring or renting housing and business premises, which are particularly high within the London region. By living and working within the same space, it is possible to reduce expenditure on both work premises and house prices and eliminate the cost of travel.

Live/Work Development within a designated industrial area will be considered favorably only where: •the existing site has been continuously vacant for a long period of time; •it can be demonstrated that there is no demand for existing industrial and business uses in that location; •the local area can provide a suitable environment for residential use; •the development takes into account the employment goals of the plan for the area Live/work Development could also be characterized by proximity types: •Live-with - Work and residence all occur in one common atmosphere •Live-near - Work and residence are separated by a wall or floor/ceiling •Live-nearby - Work occurs outside the residence but on the same property Dolan, Thomas, Live-Work Planning and design: zero commute housing




Dolan, Thomas

SEEWĂœRFEL,Zurich,Switzerland “The concept is based on a variety of different environments based on the principles of individuality and integration. The eight new apartments and office buildings are situated close to the town centre of Zurich and offer views of the lake and surrounding cityscape. The project regenerates a former industrial site into a new attractive centre for working and living and integrates itself harmoniously into the existing historic fabric of the area. There is a balance between the unique modern architectural language of the development and the individual identity given to buildings by avoiding uniformity. This was achieved by creating buildings that were designed to be different in shape and size, while applying the same principles to details such as windows, cladding, entrances and staircases. Based on these concepts, the plan and size of each building was individually determined by its function, the orientation of windows according to views over the lake, the external piazzas, and the relationship to the neighboring buildings.â€?

Evolution office website seewurfel-zurich

This example shows the arrangement of individual buildings in an open block form within a site. The accessibility of each building has been carefully worked out to ensure privacy where required. A range of different open spaces can be achieved from public piazzas on the perimeter to private courtyards in the interior. Moreover, the block being located on a sloped site means each successive row of buildings enjoys the overlooking view. Within each building, there is the presence of offices on the lower two floors with luxury apartments above. This type can be adapted to bring in other uses as well and form a small, self-contained neighborhood, which may enjoy the benefits of neither being entirely public nor entirely private.

THE TEA BUILDING, Shoreditch, London, UK

The Tea Building in Shoreditch is not just a building; it is a complete city block, built in phases over many years in the 20th Century, and refurbished incrementally over the last 10 years. The design approach shifted from new build / high speculation refurbishing towards a straightforward approach by reusing the old bacon factory into contemporary workspaces. The present seven storey building is a dynamic ‘Ideas Factory’ of creative industries that never stands still. This project establishes a set of low-cost, deep plan and high volume flexible spaces that can be continuously reconfigured depending on the tenants to form responsive, reconfigurable and affordable workspaces; and continues to be adapted for an expanding roster of low-income groups, creative industries and startups. The galleries, cafes and communal areas positioned amongst the offices not only lead to innovative mixing of uses, but also constantly evolve over time, and contribute to London’s sustainable future.

Tea Building website

Tea BuildingOrganisation of different offices within the building

ROW HOUSES WITH MEWS, London, UK The study of the terrace house with mews as seen all across London shows the existence of a clear hierarchy in the use of spaces, from the main road through to the interior mews. As they exist, the rows show highly public space in front of the house, and a smaller unit behind them across a more privatized mews, which was used as stables and servants quarters. This typology has been adapted over the years to incorporate residences in the front part and smaller offices and workshops at the back. The mews act as service corridors for the individual units. They exhibit a complex relationship between the two rows of units across the mews. A rich mix of functions can be achieved both vertically within the buildings and horizontally across the open space. To take this typology forward and adapt it in another way, the two units may be interchanged to have the larger unit behind the smaller. This would mean commercial functions such as offices and shops oriented towards the main road and the more private residential portion accessed from the back, giving it a ziggurat form.

This study presents an option for adaptation of the existing London row house which can incorporate a mix of uses, which may be the need of the future to create healthy synergies in a knowledge based neighborhood where having live and work accessible to each other may be essential.

BERLIN BLOCK- MIETSKASERNE Individual Apartment units

Typical floor plan

“The Berlin block or Mietskaserne is an exceptionally dense housing type. The deep building blocks are filled with multiple courtyards. The most spacious bourgeois apartments overlooked the street while the more cramped units with lower rental values were organised around the tiny courtyards at the rear. “

Organisation of Units

The dense housing blocks within the city centre has the capacity to house a large population within an urban block approximately 395 dwellings per hectare and the success of the Berlin block is the social mix the organisation of the blocks achieves. Firley, Eric; STAHL, Caroline- Urban Housing Handbook


“The analysis and the comparison of early and late, 19th century examples show that Mietskaserne emerged as a modular and highly flexible accumulation of simple rectangular volumes.” The analysis of the Berlin block helps in understanding the opportunities of adaptability and social mix within a block typology. The multiple courtyards within the block, though originally designed for access and ventilation have been readapted as private gardens and landscaped public squares within the block. The section implies the relationship between the built form and the courtyards and the opportunity the block provides in adapting different uses and creating new synergies at the block level. Firley, Eric; STAHL, CarolineUrban Housing Handbook

KANCHANJUNGA, Mumbai, India.

http://majestic apartments

Kanchanjunga Apartments designed by Charles Correa and located in Mumbai, are a direct response to escalating urbanization, and the climatic conditions of the region. Smaller displacements of level were critical in this work in that they differentiated between the external earth-filled terraces and the internal elevated living volumes.This was largely achieved by providing the tower with relatively deep, garden verandas, suspended in the air. The building is a 32-story reinforced concrete structure with 6.3m cantilevered open terraces. The central core is composed of lifts and provides the main structural element for resisting lateral loads. The central core was constructed ahead of the main structure by slip method of construction. Correa’s penchant for sectional displacement is accompanied where appropriate by changes in the floor surface. Here Correa pushed his capacity for ingenious cellular planning to the limit, as is evident from the interlock of the one and a half story, split-level, 3 and 4 bedroom units with the two and half story 5 and 6 bedroom units. apartments

The interlock of these variations are expressed externally by the shear end walls that hold up the cantilevers. The tower has a proportion of 1:4 (21m square and 84m high). Its minimalist unbroken surfaces are cut away to open up the double-height terrace gardens at the corners, thus revealing (through the interlocking form and color) some hint of the complex’ spatial organization of living spaces that lie within. Lower Level

Upper Level

BRYGHUSPROJEKTET, NL, OMA Bryghusprojektet is a multi functional building with a number of external activities. The spatial organization conveys explicitly the mix of uses and how it could be stacked at different levels. It addresses the issue of public space in the urban fabric and stands as a successful model for mixed uses and differentiation of spaces forming an active public realm along the water edge. View alongside the water has the potential to create an active urban space with mixed uses.The spatial qualities in the structure creates the oppurtunity for activities to rise from the surface, moving upwards and creating new levels along the water, there by offering the fabric, a park and an exhibition space. The site and the surrounding area have the potential to support and adapt to all the dynamics of space, activities and uses, which should be taken in to consideration when programming the spaces.

KNOWLEDGE CLUSTER, Cambridge, UK Over the last 50 years, Cambridge has developed a global profile and importance in terms of technology based community. The infrastructure to support a knowledge based economy is well developed, with networks playing an important role in the growth. Social networking is a key part of the mix and there are links at three crucial scales: local impact, relation with London, and finally the global scale. In recent years, the M11 corridor from Stratford towards Stansted and Cambridge has seen the pacing up of developments. This corridor along with the Lower Lea Valley and Olympic park, has the potential to evolve as a major knowledge hub in the forth coming years.

REFERENCE ARTICLES & MAGAZINES BURDETT, Ricky, 01/08/2012, The London Olympics – making a ‘piece of city’, in British Politics and Policy blog, London School of Economics, Jan. 2013, London. CAREY, Sean, 16/11/2012, Can London’s Tech City ever rival Silicon Valley?, in The Guardian, London. DITTMAR, Hank, 11/1/2013, Old street will need more than money, found in:, London. TCIO, May 2012, Impact report – Tech City Investment Organization, London.

BOOKS DOLAN, Thomas, 1949, Live-Work planning and design: Zero-Commute Housing, John Wiley and Sons., New Jersey. FIRLEY, Eric & STAHL, Caroline, 2009, The Urban Housing Handbook - Shaping the fabric of the city, Wiley, England. Planned, Oxford Dictionary, London, 2013. Spontaneous, Cambridge Dictionary, London, 2013. Spontaneous, Oxford Dictionary, London, 2013.

DOCUMENTS BROWN, Richard, 2012, Made in HWFI- the live-work collectives, Hackney Wick, London. LECROART, Paul, 2006, Paris Rive Gauche – 3rd Millenium area of culture, research and education? – Learning from a mega project, Universiteit van Amsterdam, October 6, 2006, IAURIF, Paris, France. Local Development Framework – Hackney Wick Area Action Plan (Adopted September 2012, Local Plan) – September 2012, Hackney. Lower Lea Valley – Opportunity Area Planning Framework, Greater London Authority and London Development Agency, January 2007, London. Cambridge Cluster at 50 - The Cambridge economy: retrospect and prospect – Final report to EEDA and partners, March 2011 found in:

WEBSITES Almere Website – last accessed in 09/05/2013, 18h00.

Bryghusprojektet Website – last accessed in 09/05/2013, 17h00.

Challenge Almere Website – last accessed in 09/05/2013

iCity London Website – last accessed in 08/05/2013, 14h30.

Evolution Office Website – last accessed in 08/05/2013, 14h30.

London School of Economics Website – last accessed in 09/05/2013, 18h00.

Ravensbourne Website – last accessed in 09/05/2013, 18h00.

Stratford Website – last accessed in 10/05/2013, 20h30.

TCIO Website – last accessed in 06/12/2012, 12h00.!/recenthighlights

Tea Building Website – last accessed in 06/04/2013, 12h00.

Wikipedia – last accessed in 09/05/2013, 17h00. London_Tech_City

Zetland House Website – last accessed in 07/05/2013, 17h10.

In a context of global changes London seeks to establish itself within the knowledge economies spread-out the world. London lives out of the knowledge economies distributed around its neighborhoods, and absorb many people from all over the world looking for jobs and better lives. The 2012 Olympic Games have gifted the east of London with a great opportunity.This part of the city that for many years was a tear in the fabric of the city, becomes a field of potentials with the new available post industrial land and the investment in infrastructure, thus create new possibilities for redevelopment and the expansion of the city. This opportunity calls to reconsider this area not only in the context of London but as a threshold territory for regional and even euro-continental importance. This study intends to find the intangible relations that made places like Old Street area to a successful cluster for knowledge economy. This study aims to grasp this success without trying to implement any recipes but by setting principles and guidelines, both spatial and non spatial, for the planning in areas that are vulnerable to huge, and many times, reckless developments. Areas like Carpenter’s estate and Sugar house lane have already attracted private investors as they are the perfect canvas for applying thoughtful strategies based on tools and elements learnt from London’s history of growth. In this research one could find elements and situations that encourage a more intelligent urban growth. The tests done try to implement a strategy that carefully maximizes the existing potential and character of areas such as Hackney Wick, by retaining the productivity of the existing industries and creative clusters with the introduction of new developments which take the principles learned from different sites and implement to create cohesive and productive urban fabric. Other tests challenge the recent masterplans done for Carpenter’s Estate by UCL and Sugar house lane by IKEA. These tests call to reexamine these proposals and their relations in larger context for the benefit of the area. The interventions in specific location could regulate the development and create more public involvement which could promote institutions, residential and commercial development within the environment of the existing area.

AA Housing and Urbanism London East Design Workshop – Group 1  
AA Housing and Urbanism London East Design Workshop – Group 1