Brunswick Wharf stands at the head of a spectacular bend in the River Thames with views South along the Greenwich Meridian toward the Royal Observatory and East towards the Royal Docks. The 28 acre site commands over 1/4 mile of river frontage.
At present the site is dominated by the disused Brunswick Wharf power station and the derelict East India Dock Basin. Equivalent to more than 3 million sq ft of conventional floor space with chimneys that reach more than 300 ft into the air, the power station establishes a precedent for significant mass and vertical articulation to contrast the overwhelming horizontality of the river. The basement of this structure will be retained to accommodate over 3,000 cars underground. A major transportation corridor planned to the North including the DLR and Docklands highway will create a considerable environmental impact on the scheme.
The brief entailed high density, housing, office, retail and leisure activities. A riverside walkway and water features corresponding to the East India Dock Basin remain constant elements in any scheme.
The aim of the development is to capitalise on the natural attributes of the site: view, sunlight and water. In response to the sweep of the river, a strong curved framework is established along the front of the site with a series of radial spines extending toward the back. This network could be filled in a variety of ways while maintaining the clarity of the masterplan concept.
A continuous riverside walkway and arcade establish a strong line of movement across the scheme. This framework could be extended to include adjacent sites as part of a coherent development of the West Leamouth area. Housing, retail and leisure activities tend to be grouped around water or green space whilst the offices form public squares adjacent to the Reuters development at Blackwall Yard.
The ground level is artificially raised as it approaches the river in order to accommodate services and parking whilst avoiding areas of difficult construction. This platform becomes a terrace which overlooks the river.
Landscaping serves to reinforce the radial pattern of the scheme by establishing grand avenues of trees leading toward the river. The space between the curved facade of the development and the water's edge becomes a public park which cascades downward toward the river. The large scale spaces along the river are complimented by more protected internal space including the East India Dock Basin marina. To the North, a continuous band of trees forms a green buffer zone along the transportation corridor.
Team Mike Davies, Ruth Elias, Marco Goldschmied, Ivan Harbour, Andrew Holmes, Marcus Lee, Richard Rogers, John Young