Sugar House Island
- Original design
- Planit-IE, Waugh Thistleton Architects, ARC-ML, 1853
- Original design
- ARC-ML, 2012
The 2018 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2019 programme mid-August.
Located at Three Mills, at the confluence of the rivers that powered east London and served the city for many years, Sugar House Island has nearly a thousand years’ heritage as a place of innovation and manufacture.
The development is named after a 19th century warehouse which still stands on site. A sugar refinery once stood at the top of Sugar House Lane where it meets the High Street.
The neighbouring tidal mills are the earliest on record (mentioned in The Domesday Book, 1086), producing flour for bread and complimented by Chaucer when the area was owned and developed by one of the UK’s richest Cistercian monasteries. Later the mills were bought by Nicholson and Co, a company which powered the gin craze and had links with Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Dane’s Yard, at the north of the island, led printing ink and paint manufacturing in the 19th century. The Dane Group was a world-leading producer of Day-Glo paints.
Luke Howard (1772-1864), an amateur meteorologist, developed the naming system for clouds (such as ‘cumulus’ and ‘nimbus’), and lived next to City Mill lock on the Bow Back River to the north of the site.
Sugar House Island is delivering:
• 624,000 ft² (58,000m²) of office space, bringing 2,500 jobs to the local area. Dane’s Yard is the first phase, targeted at the creative industries.
• 1,200 homes, ranging from family-sized mews houses to riverside apartments.
• A 350-bedroom hotel.
• Restaurants & bars, cafés and shops, all with an independent theme.
• More than three acres of parks & yards, and a riverside walk.
• Three new bridges connecting into surrounding areas.
• Plans for a two-form entry primary school.
Sugar House Island is unusual among current London developments. A cosmopolitan team of architects, designers and place-makers has taken time and care to curate a place they hope everyone will enjoy. They carefully managed the balance between working, living and leisure activities to create an integrated and animated neighbourhood.
The development is designed by nine different architects, a deliberate decision to introduce variation into the look and feel of the buildings as well as the spaces between them. Sugar House Island is designed from the inside out, this means that the individual’s experience is prioritised.
When compared to many London developments, Sugar House Island is also unusual for being relatively low-rise. The average height of its residential buildings is five or six storeys because most people like to live closer to the ground so they can enjoy outside spaces. Some taller blocks have been included in the scheme to mark entry points and open spaces, the tallest of these is 17 storeys. These blocks offer particularly good views across to the City, Canary Wharf and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The design makes use of the incredible assets offered by the local context – views of the sky and access to 1.2km of river edge, as well as the rich and vibrant industrial heritage.
The first phase of Sugar House Island delivers 100,000ft² (9,000m²) of offices designed with creative businesses in mind.
Dane’s Yard fuses the industrial heritage of a Conservation Area with clean and modern designs into a sensitively-restored, contemporary hub in which small and medium-sized businesses can thrive. The eight buildings in Dane’s Yard offer attractively-priced diverse accommodation with fast connectivity, in a canal-side location which is set to be a fantastic place to live and work.
Dane’s Yard is the creation of three design practices. Masterplanner ARC-ML, design architect Waugh Thistleton Architects, and landscape architect Planit-IE. This team refurbished old warehouse buildings in this Conservation Area, combining them with modern extensions to make sustainable and practical working environments for today’s businesses. They also preserved the site’s layout, retaining old yards and alleyways to keep the distinctive character of this old industrial area.
Michael Lees, Partner, ARC-ML, said: “Dane’s Yard marks the first phase in the creation of Sugar House Island’s broader new neighbourhood. The irregular spaces between the buildings impart heritage. New buildings, modest and regular, are woven in around the retained buildings to form a cohesive quarter that marries the charm of the past with the expectations of the future.”
Andrew Waugh, Founding Partner, Waugh Thistleton Architects, said: “It is a fantastic challenge to build a creative quarter from the ground up and, drawing on our experience as a pivotal player in the Shoreditch renaissance, we have worked with Vastint UK to create an architecture and public domain that will enable the rapid growth of a creative community.”
The yards, too, have been carefully designed to enhance the heritage of this space. Ed Lister, Managing Director, Planit-IE, said: “As landscape architects, we appreciate the importance of reinforcing Dane’s Yard’s unique sense of character within Sugar House Island. A series of outdoor spaces has been carefully designed, with both intimate dwelling areas for respite and larger, more open spaces for social interaction and enjoyment. We have succeeded in reusing and incorporating reclaimed materials and found site objects into the public realm, as important heritage assets that augment Dane’s Yard’s special ‘sense of place’. A minimal palette of trees and planting complement and enhance the industrial feel of the yards.”
Vastint is an international real estate developer which creates long-term value through property investment. Vastint has over 25 years’ experience and schemes across Europe. Vastint works towards positive long term social, economic and environmental solutions and developments. The cornerstones of our operations are the management of portfolio properties and the development of commercial real estate, including residential development.
Vastint is part of Interogo Holding AG in Switzerland, the holding company of the investment businesses focusing on two main areas: Property Investments through Vastint Holding B.V. and Financial Investments.
What motivates Vastint UK
We want to create distinct urban environments inspired by how people enjoy working and living in the modern world.
Who we are
At Vastint UK, we specialise in unlocking the potential of large urban sites to create truly mixed-use regeneration schemes.
What we do
We create large-scale urban developments which balance working, living and leisure activities; places designed to be characterful, connected into their history and local context, and most of all, thoughtfully designed from the inside out. With liveability key to their design, the developments have a pragmatic, holistic approach to sustainability.
We intend to maintain a long-term ownership and management interest in our developments, working with tenants and residents to curate them over time, ensuring they are successful.
Why we’re doing it
We are a values-led organisation as well as a commercial one; we know that if we deliver exceptional developments loved by generations to come, they will be socially sustainable as well as commercially successful.
How we’re doing it
Our small, cosmopolitan team takes inspiration from best practice around the world. We work with organisations which share our aspirations and values. And most of all, we collaborate; we bring together specialists from different disciplines and challenge them to find new creative ways of reimagining and reinvigorating how we design urban landscapes.
Where we operate
Vastint UK has schemes in London, Leeds and Cardiff.