Lyons Dock

As part of the Greenford Quay masterplan, Lyon’s Dock represents a significant milestone in our approach to designing for the build-to-rent sector. 


The building maximises the potential of a curve in the Grand Union Canal, formerly occupied by the SunBlest bread factory, to create a landmark building which steps up from 7 to 9 storeys maximising views to the water. Mixed use spaces open onto the street animating the waterfront. Lyon’s Dock’s relationship with the neighbouring Lock building creates a gateway to Greenford Quay from Greenford Station through a terraced link. The building gives new use to a brownfield site, referencing an industrial past through its external materials and interior design.


Has history and context shaped the look and feel of the building?

Each building at Greenford Quay has been designed to be distinctively different from the next. Lyon’s Dock varies window proportions and positions to create visual interest across an extensive facade creating a presence on the Grand Union Canal.

Precedent studies into Victorian brick warehouses informed the material palette, reflecting the site’s industrial past. Plum coloured cladding references the historic dye factory which stood on site and buff brick makes a tongue in cheek reference to the SubBlest bakery.

build to rent masterplan

What facilities have been provided to enhance residents’ quality of life?

Lyon’s Dock provides a choice of apartments in a purpose designed building, benefitting from a range of shared facilities. The building includes generous resident lounges, meeting rooms, a screen room, bar, gym, bookable dining room and games rooms, for leisure and to encourage interaction between residents. The extensive ground floor has been designed with transparent glass screens and open spaces, drawing people through the building with the sense that there is always something beyond. The north and east facing facades connect cafes and restaurants to the canal, creating an active public realm.

build to rent interiors

Build to Rent Design

Our pioneering work on build to rent developments, which are a relatively new typology in the capital, has resulted in interesting lessons learnt. Due to the sheer scale of the building and the transient nature of build to rent living, there is often someone moving in, or out. In response, our design incorporates move in and move out corridors, special wide entrances, large goods lifts and wide designated parking places, allowing a van to pull up and unload or load under cover.

Lyon’s Dock welcomes residents from 251 households with a striking triple height entrance, detailed with brickwork in a striped corduroy pattern. Other features specific to build to rent include ability to increase the number of units around the core. To enable masterplanning, design and delivery of the buildings at Greenford Quay, we worked collaboratively with the GLA, to evolve design principles unique to the build to rent sector. Part of this process included demonstrating how Greystar’s long-term stewardship, achieved through establishing a permanent management company for the development, could create long term social value for the people of Ealing.

build to rent masterplan

What inspired the interiors material palette at Lyon’s Dock?

For longevity, and to reference the industrial heritage of the site, robust masonry and metal work have been selected for the building’s exterior. A similar approach has been adopted inside the building with hard wearing materials. This supports the sustainability of the building, reducing the need for replacement and meeting the build to rent focus by reducing wear and tear through consecutive tenancies.

build to rent interiors
build to rent interiors

Landscape Design

How is Lyon’s Dock incorporated into the landscape masterplan?

The landscape first approach at Greenford Quay restores a disused industrial site. The north and south banks of the Grand Union Canal have been reconnected with a new footbridge. A change in level to the north bank presented the opportunity for an outdoor amphitheatre. To balance this with an active public realm on the south bank, outside Lyon’s Dock, a level paved waterfront allows life to spill out from the public ground floor spaces.

build to rent masterplan

Each building in the Greenford Quay masterplan has been designed with private outdoor space for the benefit of residents. At Lyon’s Dock, the expansive ground floor is topped with an E shaped floorplan from first floor up, maximising light and ventilation, the void spaces between have been turned into podium gardens which look out over the Grand Union Canal.

Sustainability & Building Physics

Why was modular construction used at Lyon’s Dock?

Our decision to adopt modular construction techniques for Lyon’s Dock reduced embodied carbon by 40% and reduced construction waste on site by 80% compared to more traditional methods. A study by Heriot-Watt University demonstrated performance improvements across ten environmental indicators.

How does Lyon’s Dock adopt sustainability principles used across the Greenford Quay masterplan?

All buildings at Greenford Quay, Lyon’s Dock included, have been designed with a high building fabric efficiency, photovoltaic panels and a centralised CHP energy centre, minimising carbon emissions across the development. Through its orientation, new green links and the introduction of a bridge across the canal, Lyon’s Dock is plugged in to the sustainable travel plan for the site which promotes cycling, caters to electric vehicles and encourages resident car clubs.