Brick Lane Housing, Tower Hamlets

Brick Lane Housing, Tower Hamlets


A development of 4 new build units (including a wheelchair accessible unit), occupying an in infill site identified by Tower Hamlets Homes, in and around the curtilage of its existing estate stock. The scheme is intended to alleviate chronic affordable housing demand in the area.

The site marks the point where the world-famous Brick Lane changes character from the quiet extension of a vibrant urban street market, into post-war housing estate. The equally famous Columbia Road Flower Market is close by but, obscured within a tangle of residential estate blocks. This presented urban design potential in addition to the housing brief.

We proposed a sensual object in the streetscape, wrapped three-dimensionally in diamonds of rich timber. This formed a focal point recognisable from street level, in the environs of each market. In doing so, the scheme becomes a beacon, reinforcing the pedestrian link between the two markets. The economies of each market are dependant on peripatetic, ‘slow flows’ of foot and cycle traffic.

As a result, the hierarchy of a preferred route emerges amongst the many estate roads; enhancing privacy for estate residents while, establishing legibility for tourists and visitors who want to enjoy both markets. The preferred route becomes safer due to its higher frequency of use, passive overlooking is multiplied.