All six buildings are oriented north/south and are of varying lengths, filling the site and defining all major boundaries. The accommodation is generally organised east/west as simple orthogonal spaces served by a series of independent vertical circulation towers.The cores are conceived as glazed lift enclosures creating counterpoints that interrupt the simplicity of the main linear façades.
In landscape terms, each area of the development is conceived as having its own distinct character. The public areas are treated as a revealed river bed with a series of soft, pebble-like forms, while the private courtyards form calm green spaces with heavy tree planting and water gardens. The newly-created river walk – slightly raised to allow views over the river wall to the Thames – brings a 17m-wide boulevard to a previously underused part of the waterfront.
A proposed pocket park adjacent to the dock inlet will provide a generous area of public realm with a mixture of soft and hard landscaping.
The buildings are organised to accommodate a wide variety of apartments based on two essential types: one-bed apartments with living and bedroom areas wrapped around a single terrace; and two-bed apartments in which the master bedroom shares an additional terrace area divided from the neighbouring two-bed unit. The arrangement seeks to maximise views and sunlight to each dwelling. The apartments – typically single aspect – are organised as east or west facing and typically grouped as five units per core, minimising corridor lengths.
The systematic nature of the proposals and the scale of the development (comprising 752 units) offered RSHP an opportunity to use colour as a means of providing individual identity to buildings, where a graphic coding would assist in way-finding. However, the approach sought to avoid the indiscriminate use of colour which might easily date the development whilst being mindful of the fact that colour might have a variable impact with distance – more muted at long range but emphasised more strongly within the development itself at close range. As a result, colour has been used to emphasise secondary elements such as the underside and leading edges of intermediate steel balconies and guide rails to lift units.
A further planning application has recently been submitted to Wandsworth Council that seeks to revise the consented application in several respects including changing the proposed hotel accommodation to an additional residential building and improving the landscaping treatment, as well as significantly refining the original design.
As well as provision for living and dining areas, Western and Asian kitchens and staff quarters and storage, the brief required a large master bedroom suite on the upper floor of the main house with adjacent bathrooms, study and office areas. The upper floor of the main house is a private sanctuary that is very separate to the formal living spaces below housing guest accommodation, a gymnasium, massage room, two private offices as well as the master bedroom suite with changing and bathroom facilities. The Interiors were designed by Kathryn Kng.
There is a 10-metre change in levels from the rear of the site to the street frontage. To overcome this change, the six-car garage accommodation, plant room areas, staff accommodation, storage, library, and cinema & entertainment areas are built into the ground, minimising the building mass from the street frontage. External steps link the main house with the other pavilions.