Aspire Point

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Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Award

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Newham

Information about this scheme

Located on Stratford High Street, the tower contains ensuite student accommodation, occupied long-term by Queen Mary University of London students, arranged in flats sharing kitchen/dining rooms, artists’ studios and a café.

The quality of student living environment was a key concern, to create a building with shared amenities and social facilities, designed to promote social interaction and community living. Common rooms are located throughout, on a mezzanine over the entrance, on the top floor, and extensive social study space. Conviviality is further enhanced by simple moves such as glazed doors to the flats and kitchens, and external views through the kitchen doors to the windows beyond.

The triangular plan creates a distinctive landmark on the corner site and, by virtue of its acute corners, the shape generates a slim profile. The shape also reduces overlooking of the hotels on each side, and is responsive to the angled grid of the housing behind. It works neatly with the internal planning; with three flats per floor sharing kitchen/ dining rooms on each corner. The podium fills the site, providing space for uses with wider community benefits, including two floors or artists’ studios and a café, each with its own entrance.

The entrance loggia and podium are similar in scale to the lower buildings that sit behind and form an obstacle to ‘down- draught’ wind. Off-site construction techniques were used to achieve fast, high quality construction. A hybrid frame using precast concrete columns and insitu slabs was used, prefabricated bathroom pods and stairs and, in particular the external wall was terracotta clad unitised curtain walling, simply craned in.

The terracotta has a lustrous ‘engobe’ finish which, rather like an engineering brick, is dark in colour but light reflective and responsive to different lighting conditions. The project has transformed a key site in the centre of Stratford from wasteland to provide a building with many community benefits.

Credits

Client

Alumno Developments

Architect

MJP Architects

Structural Engineer

Structa

Services Engineer

Cundall

Project Manager

RPS

Main Contractor

HG Construction

Primary Use Class

Sui Generis - Other Use Class not listed above