retained facade on hackney road

Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital

The regeneration of an abandoned brownfield site within a conservation area, providing new family homes whilst retaining the historic facade


The GLA and Tower Hamlets were keen to return the site back to use after a long period of abandonment, and to maximise the development potential and community benefits of this key location.

The design of the buildings emerged from an understanding of the value of its surrounding context, and the resulting proposals respond sensitively, through scale and material choices. The design team worked closely with heritage consultants to devise a scheme that has retained and restored the iconic Hackney Road facade.

The urban design has created distinctive blocks which stitch into the existing fabric by responding to the mass and scale of neighbouring residential buildings. Two new pedestrian links have been created to provide better access to Haggerston Park for the existing residents to the East as well as connecting them to the new residents of the neighbourhood.


view across haggerston park

Affordable family housing

The development has delivered 188 new homes, 72 of which are affordable, as well as providing community enterprise space and parking. It incorporates 43% affordable housing by habitable rooms for both renting and buying and includes larger three or four-bedroom family homes. All dwellings and storage provision match or exceed the standards of The London Plan and London Housing SPG and all homes will be compliant with the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4. 30% of the homes have been designed as family accommodation and 10% wheelchair adaptable.

In response to the prevailing local needs, the proposals have been designed with family accommodation as a key consideration with the majority of two storey family dwellings located at ground level with street doors providing easy access to the adjacent park, individual rear gardens opening out into the private communal courtyards.

brick facade
brick facade

The GLA has commended the scheme as an exemplar of the collaborative design process and partnering capable of unlocking the potential of abandoned inner-city brownfield sites to provide much-needed housing.

The then Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property, Richard Blakeway said:

“It is vitally important that long-standing empty sites like this are urgently put back into community use. This is part of a vast portfolio of land the Mayor is releasing to boost house building across the capital and address the 30 year failure to deliver enough homes. We have ensured the design incorporates some original architecture of the former hospital in honour of the site’s rich heritage. I look forward to the delivery of much needed good quality new homes that will be a great asset to the area.”

family housing
retained facade
drone view

How do the materials complement the architectural narrative?

The materials used are high quality, durable and identifiable with traditional London residential developments. Brick is the dominant material up until the six storey datum line with stock similar to that of the Hackney Road Building. Stone detailing has been included along the Goldsmith’s Row elevation to complement the architectural detailing found on the existing Hackney Road building, and the pavilions above the sixth floor are clad in lightweight anodised aluminium rainscreen panels.

rooftop view of the city
view of the rooftops
interior shot of maisonette
section of maisonette

Landscape Design

new pedestrian route

How does the landscape design complement its architecture?

The development boasts a unique character featuring two inviting communal courtyards, private terraces for ground floor units, and a streetscape seamlessly blending into its environment. Landscape plans have been meticulously crafted alongside the building design, ensuring that each space works with the building’s form and capitalizes on natural light and shadow. Additionally, shared amenities spaces have been designed for the use of young families with the provision of informal toddler play areas.


What were the planning challenges that HTA Planning overcame?

The redevelopment of Queen Elizabeth Hospital presented an interesting planning challenge in that the land value of the site pre-determined a density that had to be achieved on this urban redevelopment site – which was challenging. Working with our design teams, the planning task was to demonstrate a residential development meeting the highest design quality standards.

Significant work had to be undertaken with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to ensure the original hospital building did not get listed. By retaining the façade of the original hospital building a much more efficient residential building form could be achieved. The site has a rich local history and its redevelopment sparked a lot of interest amongst local residents – many of whom had memories of having visited it at some point in the past. It was evident that the heights proposed were seen as challenging but through a workshop based approached with urban design and planning officers at Tower Hamlets the expression of elevations were developed so as to minimise impact on the adjoining Hackney City Farm and the skyline. HTA Planning led the pre-application process for this exciting development and drafted the Planning Statement.

Communications & Engagement

A benchmark for central London redevelopment community Engagement

Our programme of community engagement was conceived to inclusively engage as many different people as possible using different creative activities. As the site was a former hospital, there were no residents on site, however the local community – residential, business and community were all invited to review the scheme proposals and participate in creative activities whilst doing so.

Alongside usual consultation activities – exhibition, models, walkabouts and opportunities to contribute to the design through themed workshops, we created a programme of themed activities to help us understand heritage, memories, things that are important to the local community, and aspirations for the future development.

community engagement
community engagement
community engagement
consultation event
consultation event

Events included a coffee morning for older people to tell us about their memories of the site. These were then interpreted into a piece of public art along the building elevation by a local artist – Jo Peel.

We also ran bookbinding workshops, illustration sessions and a pop up market stall, plus a tour de France style cycle route with refreshments in exchange for comments about the scheme.

community engagement event
community engagement event
community engagement event

At one engagement event, we worked with artist Amy Pennington and used a Robot Drawing Machine to draw portraits of participants whilst we discussed the development proposals with them.

We received feedback from the GLA that the engagement and subsequent Statement of Community Engagement were the benchmark examples for this type of Central London regeneration project.

public artwork
public artwork
public artwork