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Theme: Urban regeneration, arts & culture
Scope: Research & Development

Location: Royal Docks, London

Affordable Creative Workspace & Hub




The Royal Docks were historically London’s engine, with its factories playing a pivotal part of urban growth and development.  To address both the needs of the incoming and existing communities, Maker’s Wharf provides a unique yet inclusive hub for the creative industries, focused on nurturing artists, SMEs and makers whilst supporting the regeneration of the local community.


Maker’s Wharf provides opportunity for an under-skilled workforce, as much as an entrepreneurial one and enables affordable workspace to be provided for creativity, making and micro-manufacturing in the city.



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Maker’s Wharf acts as a key piece of urban infrastructure, to reconnect the Royal Docks to the city; physically, visually and psychologically.  Inspired by the distinctive cranes at the Royal Docks and the industrial typology of chimney stacks, a delicate vertical structure provides a landmark beacon to announce a new gateway to the Docks.  It makes legible the connection between the Thames riverside walk and Dock waterfront, whilst also providing a new staircase down from the flyover to improve pedestrian connectivity and legibility from Canning Town. The structure holds viewing platforms, creating a destination that draws visitors to experience the views of the city and over the Docks. 



A new public building forms the entrance to Maker’s Wharf, providing resources for both the occupiers and creative workers from local hubs. It gives a strong identity and distinctive character to the new complex, whilst drawing deeply from the rich history of the site. A large event space, overlooking the water, provides space for community, cultural and commercial activities, which can spill out onto a new public space. A showcase and exhibition space promotes the occupiers work and raises their profile, animating the public realm.  Market/food facilities can be located around the bold entrance, which draws people to the space and creates a vibrant destination for a rich mix of people.




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The scheme is designed to encourage this diverse mix of groups to work with and support one another, through the sharing of resources and skills. It enables growth through training. As the occupiers become more established, they can take space at different rental levels, in different “villages”, so the most established cross-subsidises the start-ups. The spaces are graded according to the best views of the Royal Docks.  Revenue is also generated through a new event space overlooking the Docks, so the hub can sustain the affordability and accessibility of the workspace and training. 


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