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Fish Island Village, Tower Hamlets

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

Successful placemaking marks out this London canalside scheme that has homes with shared roof terraces rubbing shoulders with an early established community hub, allotments and commercial spaces

Fish Island Village.
Fish Island Village. Credit: Rory Gardiner

2024 RIBA London Award

Fish Island Village, Tower Hamlets
Haworth Tompkins, Lyndon Goode Architects, Pitman Tozer Architects, Bureau de Change for Peabody
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 63,726m2

On the site of a former waste processing depot, Fish Island Village now accommodates 588 homes and over 5,000 square metres of commercial space in a new masterplan of tree-lined streets, distinctive yards, a square and 200 metres of canal frontage. This is successful placemaking, and the four architecture practices worked together closely with their client to achieve it. Ground rules were adopted from the start, including a rigorous architectural language and material palette drawing on the area’s heritage of industry, fashion and artistic production. Key building typologies and materials were set. Building heights were restricted to between six and seven storeys. The character of the buildings and spaces has both variety and consistency. It all feels cohesive, robust and confident. The early establishment of a community hub with occupied working studios helped to set the scene.

  • Fish Island Village.
    Fish Island Village. Credit: Fred Howarth
  • Fish Island Village.
    Fish Island Village. Credit: Fred Howarth
  • Fish Island Village.
    Fish Island Village. Credit: Kilian O'Sullivan
  • Fish Island Village.
    Fish Island Village. Credit: JC Candanedo
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It was crucial to foster a truly mixed community from the start. Affordable workspaces and business support programmes were propelled by the social enterprise company who were appointed at the outset.

The new urban grain assists legibility and permeability and allows for simple building forms. There is a ‘wharf’, a ‘warehouse’ and street maisonettes. It all feels rooted in its place. There are hints of the industrial past embedded in the details, materials and textures of the buildings. Collaboration with a local artist has generated a series of cast iron plates set into the ground, embossed with quotes and local oral histories. The residential buildings are named after former canal boats and their colours are inspired by the area’s history of fabric and dyeing.

  • Fish Island Village.
    Fish Island Village. Credit: Fred Howarth
  • Fish Island Village.
    Fish Island Village.
  • Fish Island Village.
    Fish Island Village. Credit: Fred Howarth
  • Fish Island Village.
    Fish Island Village. Credit: Fred Howarth
  • Fish Island Village.
    Fish Island Village. Credit: Caroline Charrel
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There is a variety of homes, ranging in tenure and size, from studios to family maisonettes. Every home has a private balcony, terrace or winter garden, depending on outlook and aspect, and there are shared roof terraces with planting and allotments.

Conceived in 2015, the development was well advanced before the RIBA Targets release in 2019 and currently utilises gas, with the potential to connect into the low-carbon Olympic Legacy Energy Centre once the necessary connections have been facilitated.

Fish Island Village is sustainable in its broadest sense. This is a truly mixed community, a vibrant place to live, work and visit.

See the rest of the RIBA London winners here. And all the RIBA Regional Awards here.

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com.

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Contractor Hill Partnership

Structural engineer Sweco (MLM)

Environmental/M&E engineer DW Pointer and Partners, RB Emerson

Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Hill

Landscape architect Farrer Huxley

Sustainability Sweco (MLM)

 

Credit: Haworth Tompkins, Lyndon Goode Architects, Pitman Tozer Architects, Bureau de Change
Credit: Haworth Tompkins, Lyndon Goode Architects, Pitman Tozer Architects, Bureau de Change
Credit: Haworth Tompkins, Lyndon Goode Architects, Pitman Tozer Architects, Bureau de Change
Credit: Haworth Tompkins, Lyndon Goode Architects, Pitman Tozer Architects, Bureau de Change
Credit: Haworth Tompkins, Lyndon Goode Architects, Pitman Tozer Architects, Bureau de Change
Credit: Haworth Tompkins, Lyndon Goode Architects, Pitman Tozer Architects, Bureau de Change

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