Summary of our design concept
The design of the scheme has evolved significantly through detailed dialogue with London Borough of Hackney planning officers, feedback from the Design Review Panel and from the public exhibition and stakeholder engagement events. General feedback captured during the previous and recent stakeholder engagement indicated people welcomed a very active, lively elevation on Ashwin Street reflecting the existing activity on the street.
All the retail units on this site are through units, ensuring permeability between Kingsland High Street and Ashwin Street, and will provide a series of visual links and continuity between the two streets.
However concerns were raised regarding the articulation of the elevation on Kingsland High Street appearing uninspiring and repetitive. As a result, we have addressed the articulation of the building on the southern site on to Kingsland High Street. The latest proposals include the widening of the visual break between the two rectilinear blocks and the articulation extended through the first bay of openings in the larger brick block to express this feature more generously.
We have explored options to split the larger block into several different vertical sections by introducing changes in parapet heights, window sizes, brick colour and texture as discussed with the Design Review Panel. We have introduced double height openings on the northern corner of the building to reflect the language of the northern site opposite and to create a link between the southern and northern buildings.
The latest proposals show greater variation in openings, introducing coloured panels and changes in material to create a vibrant and unique elevation. A change in rhythm of the ground floor brick piers together with the continuity of the brick emphasise the distinction between residential and commercial levels.
The junction of Kingsland High Street and Boleyn Road is a prominent corner of Dalston. This part of the northern site needs to respond to the character of Kingsland High Street and act as a feature of the High Street. Therefore, the building has been conceived to celebrate this corner. Three elements form the building, these are a sculptural brick wrap, a metal-clad core which pops up at upper levels and a stitch element to ease the relationship with the immediate neighbouring properties. This produces a unique and sculptural character to the building and responds to the adjacent Victorian buildings in a contemporary manner befitting to Dalston.
The character of the street is maintained, with a continual commercial base that ensures active frontage to the street. Above this the building rises to a shoulder height of five storeys with a small section of seven storeys to highlight the corner including a parapet line which is defined, but is not dominant.
Behind the parapet, the building extends to seven storeys providing a distinctive feature to the building. Set back to avoid significant overshadowing and articulated in a lighter contrasting high quality zinc cladding, this element will only be visible from a distance, which due to the dense urban character of the context means that there will only ever be glimpses of this part of the building.
The choice of brick has been carefully considered to ensure it both corresponds and complements the existing environment. Unlike the horizontal rhythm and grid of the southern site, a vertical approach has been developed where openings are linked to emphasise the corner location.
The northern end of this site steps down to respect the scale of the adjacent existing properties on the High Street. As the building folds into Boleyn Road, the business and activity reduces, and a calmer, more residential character provides an influence. The brick layer wraps around the corner giving continuity to the whole building. The scale of the openings diminishes gradually and so does the height of the brick element, to respond to the smaller scale of the residential character of this area. The street and kerb line can be adapted to provide generous pedestrian public realm in front, to be enhanced by new street trees and cycle stands.
The scale, massing and articulation of the building on the northern site has been through several iterations to ensure that the proposed building responds to the desire to deliver a exciting new building which reflects the unique character of Dalston and which clearly marks the corner site without conflicting with the sensitive Victorian context.