The Silk District will transform a former Safestore facility into a new urban quarter, with 30% of the site dedicated to new public realm. The scheme, which includes a large proportion of family homes alongside 3,500sqm of commercial space, is a fundamental piece of Whitechapel’s vision for regeneration. Straddling two nearby conservation areas, the design concept focuses on connectivity and permeability, introducing new pedestrianised streets and squares. The predominantly brick and reconstituted stone design creates strong street-based frontages to the existing urban context, while a glass and aluminium-clad tower stands at the heart of the scheme, enhancing the future townscape of Whitechapel.
620 new homes – 152 of which will be affordable housing – and commercial space including flexible office space for SMEs, shops, a gym and a cafe sit around a new public square and landscaped walking routes. Whitechapel’s urban assets are particularly strong: its heritage, its market, its community and culture. In our view, these assets provided a solid and exciting foundation for the Silk District and a great opportunity to contribute to this vibrant area.
Our urban approach sought to integrate a number of key principles into the scheme such as pedestrian routes linking into surrounding streets, encouraging movement through the site – visual connectivity through the site became increasingly key to doing this. As a result the scheme addresses surrounding streets with new low-rise streetscape, creating a significant open space within the heart of the development and positions the tallest elements setback within the site to minimise its impact on the surrounding context.