Designed by Assael Architecture, with modular design by HTA Design, Union Wharf delivers 249 homes and an array of residents’ shared amenities across two buildings, and an extensive public realm. Union Wharf is a pioneering Build to Rent community that offers renters in London an alternative way of living. Inspired by its context, Union Wharf’s design includes an architectural language that references the working heritage of Deptford Creek, a layout that celebrates its waterside location and opens up the site to the wider community, and height and orientation that maximise rooftop views to the City and beyond.
Union Wharf has established many precedents in the UK Build to Rent sector; it includes the first private rented building specifically designed for families; it is one of the first high-rise residential projects to use volumetric offsite construction; and it introduced the concept of discount market rent (DMR) as the affordable housing strategy. Union Wharf is now used as a case study industry-wide, cited in the Government’s 2017 Housing White Paper.
HTA Design collaborated with Assael Architecture on developing the detail design for volumetric Offsite delivery. The rationalised floorplates of the original design presented a great opportunity to adopt a modular method of construction, and HTA employed its considerable expertise and knowledge of the chosen system to ensure the fidelity of the modular scheme to the original design while maximising the benefits of Offsite design and delivery.
The modularisation of the plans worked within the constraints of the system to maintain the Build to Rent principles set out in the original design, such as equal room sizes and generous living areas. HTA worked closely with the modular manufacturer and facade consultant to develop a lightweight solution that was suitable to the modular structure while delivering on the intent for a high-quality facade.
The resulting scheme is a project that although initially designed to be delivered traditionally, was successfully converted to, and delivered via volumetric offsite construction with great fidelity to the both the intended aesthetic qualities and the aspirations of creating a great place to live.