Waugh Thistleton Architects

16 Orsman Road 1




July 2021


Southern Grove

RIBA workstages

Concept to Planning


3,546 m2

The proposed design sits along the bank of the Regent’s Canal and will provide 3,546m2 of office and flexible use space over 6 storeys with balconies and roof terraces providing quality amenity space for tenants.

Historically the banks of the Regent’s Canal have been occupied by buildings housing light industry, commerce, and workshops or studios. New development in the area has replaced obsolete and abandoned sites with modern commercial and mixed use schemes, continuing an important urban grain. Waugh Thistleton’s design balances the heritage of the site’s industrial past and the expectations of a modern, high quality workspace.

The site is currently occupied by a cluster of disparate buildings of varying heights which look out of place amongst the collage of residential, commercial and light industrial buildings completed over the past decade. The existing buildings will be demolished and replaced by a single building occupying the whole site. The new building is composed as a series of three vertically proportioned elements, which break the massing and provide a complementary rhythm to neighbouring buildings.

Along the canal-facing northern elevation the central third provides balcony space for the offices whilst also mitigating light spillage to the canal, reducing the potential for this to affect night time and water-borne wildlife. These suspended balconies are reminiscent of the traditional working buildings in Hackney, a subtle nod to the heritage of the area when canalside structures were used for loading goods directly from canal barges.

The tripartite facade is unified through consistent fenestration which maintains the desired horizontal emphasis characteristic of the area, with taller window proportions at the top floor subtly reinforcing a traditional order of ‘top, middle and bottom’ to the building.

The circulation core is placed to permit simple division of the floorplate for multiple businesses, providing space to support the SME and micro businesses that continue to contribute to the success and vitality of this part of east London. Each of the floors is designed to house two, three or four tenants in multiple configurations, providing the potential for these local businesses to grow into the space. The building also provides affordable workspace at 10% of the floor area to welcome businesses that might otherwise be priced out of the area they have contributed so much to.

A flexible use space at ground floor can be used as a café, providing access and views to the canal and a canalside terrace that runs the length of the building.

On the top floor are roof terraces with views to the city to the south and over the canal and Hackney to the north. These can be configured to either provide private outdoor space for use by a single tenant or access to all building users.

16 Orsman Road has been designed to allow for construction using DfMA and sustainable mass timber. The structural design is for a steel and timber hybrid building on the success 6 Orsman Road, just a few doors away.