In 2014, Matthew Lloyd Architects won an invited competition for the development of brownfield land next to the Royal Foundation of St Katharine (RFSK). Located in Limehouse, LB Tower Hamlets, the site is adjacent to the DLR Station, a key transport interchange. Founded by Queen Matilda in 1147, the Foundation has served as a centre for worship, hospitality and service for over 800 years as one of England’s longest running charities. As a result of our feasibility design, in 2017 RFSK partnered with the Acorn Property Group to bring forward an exciting vision for the site.
The developed scheme will help to transform this quarter of Limehouse, enhance the life of the local community and open up the Foundation to a wider audience. Ranging from 3 to 9 storeys in height, the new building maximises the potential of its site offering a rich mix of uses, including: 115 mixed-tenure homes (of which 35% are affordable), 25 hospitality rooms, workspace facilities and a community cafe. A new pedestrian link and public realm adjacent to the DLR line, to be known as St. Katharine’s Way, provides a key public east-west connection across the site, whilst landscaping and active frontages work to significantly improve the streetscape of Butcher Row, which is currently hostile to pedestrians and of poor quality.
Great care has been taken to design the building’s elevations with reference to the surrounding Conservation Area and Grade II* Foundation buildings. A limited palette ensures continuity within the design, whilst considered detailing of the brickwork allows for visual distinction between separate elements of the building’s layered massing. Tall ground floor glazing offers an urban continuity to the street front and the adjacent Limehouse Station, whilst recessed entrances punctuate the facades. A central arch marks the entrance to the colonnaded courtyard at the heart of the scheme. This open space, surrounded by handsome arches to provide rhythm and formality, offers users an experiential and formal progression from the lively activity of the new community spaces, through to the quieter oasis of the Foundation’s existing complex. Green buffer zones and a gentle change in level create thresholds between these new uses and the tranquil inner courtyard beyond.
The Royal Foundation of St Katherine and Acorn Property Group
Planning 2021 - Completion 2024