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Can we create affordable, sustainable housing on heavily constrained sites?

Location:        Willesden
Status:             Planning Consented

Client:             London Green
Architect:    Goldstein Heather Architects

Structural Design Brief

Two residential towers with single joined podium to provide mix of affordable and market value housing.

Concrete structural design driven by cost.

Site constraints include canal wall to south, existing bridge and Thames Water sewer to south-east, National Grid HV tunnel to South, proposed HS2 tunnels to south.

220325-Mitre Wharf- DAS DRAFT 2.jpg

This 149-home development sits on the edge of the Old Oak Common masterplan. It will redevelop a challenging site that has a multitude of infrastructure assets passing beneath and adjacent to it. This includes the canal to the south, proposed HS2 tunnels, National Grid tunnel, a sewer through the site and an adjacent graveyard. The constraints placed by each of these assets has impacted the location and size of the two residential towers.

The site also suffers from limited access, with a single access point into site on the corner of the busy Scrubs Lane. This has been a key consideration in developing the structural solution.

The in-situ RC/PT structural solution limits the size of components and so vehicles requiring site access. The common podium between the buildings is set at a similar level to Scrubs Lane to unify the site and link it to the adjacent road that forms its main access point.


The project has high sustainability ambitions and we have assessed the embodied carbon impact of each of the option studies. In addition, we have looked adaptive reuse, recycled material and end of life uses to try and give a rounded picture of the impact of each design decision. Proposals to reduce embodied carbon at the next design stage include modularising the construction to decrease waste and relocating one of the towers to avoid a deep ground floor transfer slab over the sewer and so removing a large volume of concrete.

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