21 Wapping Lane is a new build, residential mixed-use scheme on the site situated to the South East of the Grade I Listed Tobacco Dock development. The vision for the development and regeneration of the site and its surroundings was to create a high quality, residential-led, scheme around new public and private landscaped areas, to act as a beacon for regeneration. The early ideas and concepts began to explore dynamic curvilinear forms, particularly opposite the unattractive monolithic car park building, as a way of evoking memory and re-establishing a strong character of the area. The scheme has contributed to creating a tighter, more robust urban grain and knits together this fragmented area.
A key part of this project was the improvement of the canal side environment. Public access was opened up to the south side of the canal, and the area was re-landscaped. This provided much-enhanced public access to a part of the important east-west pedestrian route linking St Katharine Docks to Shadwell Basin. A new public piazza was created directly opposite to the existing entrance of the Tobacco Dock site. The development was further complemented by retail and leisure facilities as well as 106 underground parking spaces.
The scheme consists of five main blocks, varying in height and massing, that are connected by richly landscaped courtyards. To the South of the site, the buildings are rectilinear, whilst the North of the site and adjacent to a canal, the blocks are more curved, reflecting the changing urban fabric. The project comprised of 4 high-quality residential blocks containing market, intermediate and social units, and a twenty-storey tower.
The innovative development also employed a range of passive energy measures, including a Combined Heat and Power plant, green and brown roofs, and ‘brisesoleil’ to provide shading. The materials were chosen to be robust and of high quality, making a reference to Wapping’s industrial past. This unified scheme of buildings of a similar architectural style assists in the integration of the scheme in its varying urban surroundings. The palette of materials included: coloured terracotta panels, render, composite timber cladding, and coated steel sections.
The project contributes positively to its local surroundings and has been well received by residents who include professionals, local individuals and families. It has also acted as a catalyst for other improvements in the area, including the re-launch of The Grade I Listed Tobacco Dock as an events venue and the development of the site adjacent to the scheme by a major bank. Long-term prospects for the area include continual regeneration.