Great Eastern Quays
Royal Albert Wharf
Set on a peaceful dockside, Great Eastern Quays forms Phase 1 of the Royal Albert Wharf development at the eastern end of the Royal Docks complex in London. Identified as the capital’s next up-and-coming business district, the historic docks are set to undergo a three-phase regeneration in the next 5 years, involving the formation of over 1,500 homes and new commercial and leisure areas, to be completed by 2027.
The £81 million development includes a mixed-use masterplan, which has seen the creation of 350 high-quality, mixed tenure homes, the regeneration of internal garden squares and public areas along the river and docks, and the construction of additional commercial space aimed at business start-ups.
The design, by London based architects Maccreanor Lavington, seeks to enhance the East Beckton community and reflect the profound, historical heritage of the docks, by protecting features such as the 100-year-old impounded pumping station.
The client, Notting Hill Housing, appointed main contractor Galliford Try Partnerships to lead the regeneration of this large development, comprising of 3 blocks of six and seven storeys, the largest ever single project for the company at the time, on the site of a former pharmaceutical warehouse and commercial building.
In order to achieve the distinctive historical warehouse visual designed by the architects, Taylor Maxwell worked closely with Maccreanor Lavington over a number of years to design and develop a bespoke blend of facing bricks that would allude to the buildings of the area’s industrial past. This precise choice of unique brickwork, was ultimately named by the architects as the ‘Queens Dock Blend’.
With a tight build programme to meet, the ability to work quickly and efficiently was essential, therefore Taylor Maxwell suggested using lightweight brick-faced units to create the deep brickwork reveals at the window heads.
“The lightweight lintels were critical”, explained Brad Coker, Project Director for main contractor Galliford Try Partnerships; “Due to the projects’ location right next to the city airport, the benefit of the brick clad lintels was that they could be fitted by hand, making the on-site installation much more efficient and negating the need for any cranage. This resulted in minimal disruption to the build schedule.”
The prefabricated components combine custom-designed, brick slip-faced, stainless-steel soffit units with a high integrity stainless steel MDC brickwork support system. Faced with brick slips specially cut from the main brickwork batch, and permanently precision bonded to the required pattern, the prefabricated units were fixed back directly to the shelf angle.
Using vertical and horizontal adjustment built into the system, the units were perfectly aligned and matched to the main facade brickwork. This precision-fit solution allowed for fast install without recourse to the usual heavy lifting equipment. Brad added, “They blend so well with the other brickwork, you would never know it was a brick clad unit."
Due to the projects’ location right next to the city airport, the benefit of the brick clad lintels was that they could be fitted by hand, making the on-site installation much more efficient and negating the need for any cranage. This resulted in minimal disruption to the build schedule.”
Project Director - Galliford Try Partnerships
In addition to the 2300 linear meters of prefabricated brickwork, Taylor Maxwell also supplied circa 50,000no glazed facing bricks, in both standard and special shapes. The special shaped sawtooth bricks have been laid vertically creating a pointed shadow effect, which brings the building to life, as they appear to change in appearance throughout the day. The hints of contemporary green glazed brickwork, a bespoke non-standard colour created especially for the project, has added depth and dimension to the facade of Great Eastern Quays. This has provided a complimentary contrast with the industrial inspired brickwork, ultimately creating a striking finish to the fascia of the new community. This was the underlying vision of the architects Maccreanor Lavington, who believed it was vitally important that the project create a unique space where the Royal Docks meet the iconic River Thames.
Brad concluded, “It’s stunning. We’ve achieved the architect’s original design specification in the completed scheme, and finished it to a very high standard. The development has been really well received by everyone from the planners to the residents and the housing association. It really is a stand out development in this part of London, an up and coming area with lots of future work planned.”
Phase 2 of Maccreanor Lavington’s three-phase regeneration master plan for Great Eastern Quays is under way, and will see Galliford Try and Taylor Maxwell continue to work together to create 468 additional homes for Notting Hill Housing, and a further 2,400 sqm of commercial, community and retail space.
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