Broadway Malyan plays pivotal role as major London scheme advances / by rachel

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has resolved to approve the planning application for Crossharbour District Centre in East London, UK, with the scheme supported by global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan for client Ashbourne Beech. The mixed-use project comprises a 150,000 sqft supermarket, a further 130,000 sqft of retail space, 10,000 sqft of community space and up to 850 residential units, with 31 per cent affordable housing, as well as a basement car park and public open space.

The practice’s Director of Architecture Geoff Brocklehurst said: “The scheme is extremely complex and this successful milestone is testament to our integrated team of diverse design and public consultation experts working in close partnership with the client and local community over a four year period.”

The planning application will now be referred to the Mayor of London for consideration and, if approved, construction work could start on site in 2013 with the Centre standing at the heart of the Isle of Dogs.

It promises to reinforce the identity of the local community, provide improved local shopping and employment opportunities and create a vibrant new area with better public transport connections, greater pedestrian access and an active, safe public realm.

It could deliver a variety of new public open spaces and improve connections to both Mudchute Park and Farm and Millwall Dock through the provision of public squares, a vibrant new high street, children’s play areas, pocket parks and informal leisure areas, as well as creative landscaping.

An associated sustainable travel plan also includes provision for a 770-space car park for use by shoppers and new residents, in excess of 1,000 cycle-parking spaces and improved connections to public transport.

The practice’s design is derived from a practical understanding of the surroundings, which reveals why the site is pivotal to the successful connectivity to transport, amenity and local facilities for the wider island communities. The fluidity, variety of scale and character of spaces which deliver those routes will enrich each journey through the new Centre.

The design team’s approach to delivering imaginative places to live is more a response to mitigating the visibility and scale of the commercial elements of the proposal. It borrowed from the everyday characteristics of a ‘hill-top town’ to overcome what could so easily have been standard podium residential living. Its flats and houses cluster on, around and on top of the big boxes, accessed from gently meandering pedestrian streets, while the tower, a campanile, becomes the marker for the community.

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