Royal Wharf

Ballymore / Oxley International Holdings
London Borough of Newham
Royal Wharf is a 17-hectare residential riverside development of over 3,300 new homes, 10,000 sqm of commercial space, a school and a community centre set within the Royal Docks, East London. Almost half the development area is open space, including residential gardens and courtyards, a central Market Square with, seating, lawns and planting; and Royal Wharf Gardens, a park with generous swathes of seasonal planting framing a central lawn. The landscape provides an inclusive and playable environment for residents and visitors alike.
Public Realm Masterplan
The vision was to create a new piece of the city built around a hierarchy of streets, lanes and mews focusing on family living. The public realm forms a key component of the Royal Wharf development to provide an attractive, vibrant new neighbourhood in London.
As well as establishing a clear hierarchy of streetscapes, a series of family of garden typologies, kitchen gardens and public spaces with different characters, identities and functions located across the masterplan.
A series of strategies were established to reinforce the design principles as part of the landscape masterplan. Creating a defined neighbourhood for contemporary London is reflected in the hard landscape and street furniture palettes, which clearly define spaces whilst creating legible public realm with a familiar hierarchy. The principles were achieved through the design of walkable streets, routes and spaces, using site wide materials palettes and strategies to define the character and character variations within the site.
The hierarchy of streets aims to achieve a sense of normality to the scheme with a language that is familiar as being a part of London. The materials specification has been developed to Newham's adoptable standards.
This hierarchy informs the layout, dimensions and materials to ensure a consistency of design approach to the 'High Street', lanes and mews streets.
High Street
The High Street forms an important spine through the centre of Royal Wharf. Yorkstone is used for the paving delineating the footpaths, a traditional London paving material. Tree planting, loading bays and street furniture including lighting and seating has been located alongside the kerb to create a clear zone along the frontages of buildings to provide clear access and pedestrian movement.
Streets and Lanes
The streets and lanes have traditional concrete pavements to contrast with the High Street and reinforce the site hierarchy.
A mix of setts give a cobbled mews feel. This matches the loading bays, parking bays and raised pedestrian crossings. The aim is to provide a sense of place yet connect the mews visually to elements within the streets and lanes.
Riverwalk Concept Development
Extending more than 500m along the south of the site, the Riverside Walk provides recreational facilities for residents and visitors alike, while allowing views of Canary Wharf, the Millennium Dome as well as the Thames Barrier. Planting is reflective of the native river bank reed beds, planted in swathes to create a flowing landscape along the length of the park. At intervals along the route, seating, small scale play, and outdoor fitness equipment has been incorporated to appeal to a variety of users.
Royal Wharf Gardens
The park consists of a generous area of sculpted lawn, surrounded by trees and planting with year-round interest to provide enclosure and opportunities for both active and passive recreation and play. Multiple entrances activate the edges and vehicle access is limited. The landforms and planting are designed to minimise the potential strong winds coming from the river.
Water run-off from the site to the river, via tidal terraces, is directed along a swale at the eastern edge of the park. Boardwalk crossings and stepping stones act as playable elements amongst native planting beneath the tree canopies. Adjacent to this, a detention pond, or dip in the landform, allow for excess water to return to the land.
An historic war memorial has been located within the park with a setting providing the opportunity for quiet contemplation.
The 'Garden' Courtyards
The 'Garden' courtyards contribute to the amenity of the site, providing local spaces for the residents in the buildings around each garden court. The gardens were conceived as a family of private spaces only accessible to the residents of the surrounding buildings. The site wide concept for the development is as a modern interpretation of the traditional residential areas in London, creating a neighbourhood that responds to housing types, streets and spaces that have a familiar palette, hierarchy and function.
The designs have reference to the garden squares of London where there is a tradition of creating open spaces for both public, and private 'key holder' gardens. These squares have a similar familiar style, scale and contain elements such as tree planting, shrub and herbaceous planting, lawns, mounding, seating and focal points and play.
The aspiration is that a 'family; of gardens is created, each one individually designed but with an overarching identity that will help to reinforce Royal Wharf as a distinctive neighbourhood.
Construction and Phasing
The site construction has been phased into three phases with Phase 1 commencing in 2014.
Phase 1 of Royal Wharf received a detailed planning consent alongside the outline masterplan consent. This brought forward a number of streets, the entrance space, the Market Square, the first section of North Woolwich Road and the Riverside Park. Public ream, residential courtyard gardens and resident's kitchen gardens along the eastern boundary of the site has also be delivered.
Phase 1 and Royal Wharf Gardens were completed in 2016; the second and third phases are due for completion in 2019.
Design team:
Architect (Masterplan and Phase 1): Glenn Howell Architects, Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios
Architect (Executive): Whittam Cox Architects, Todd Architects;
Engineer: O'Connor Sutton Cronin
Planning Consultant: Rolfe Judd
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