The longest freshwater pool in Europe forms part of plans for a £250million tech campus in Poplar.
Designs have been unveiled showing how the 1990s East India office complex – which houses Tower Hamlets Town Hall – will be transformed to attract the next generation of creative and tech businesses.
Architect Studio RHE is working with Trilogy Property and LaSalle Investment Management to turn the high-rises into a flexible workplace. They want the campus to rival the Shoreditch hotspots and help stem the tide of young companies leaving London.
Worked has started on the first of four buildings, Anchorage House, to extend the ground and first floors facades so they can house shops and bars with outdoor terraces. Inside it is being reworked using engineered timber and black steel with an extended atrium space over 10 storeys.
The building which is being renamed R1 is also one of only a few in the world to have a platinum connectivity rating from WiredScore, joining the likes of the Empire State Building and Google’s offices in America.
The Trampery has announced it will be the first workspace to open at the site, taking over 9,000 sq ft of offices on the ninth floor for a year from January 2017 to create a place for startups, designers, artists, producers and other creatives. It is offering 20 desks to early-stage innovators free for 12 months, with a further 30 desks priced flexibly for more established projects.
The first business to call The Trampery Republic home will be Playdiation, a studio developing cinematic games.
Founder of east London-based workplace provider The Trampery Charles Armstrong said: “This will be a unique cocktail for new ideas and creative cross-fertilisation. As a response to London’s cost-of-living crisis, we’re committed to providing facilities free of charge to the most talented early-stage ideas.”
A planning application has also been submitted to Tower Hamlets to change the basement into a gym and the existing canal into a 100m outdoor heated swimming pool with changing rooms and gym facilities in a new pavilion building.
The design statement says: “The external pool will be the longest freshwater pool within Europe, and combined with the proposed running and cycling studios will create an unsurpassed training facility for triathlete’s within the City.”
Bosses hope to have the work completed by October 2017
Director of Studio RHE Richard Hywel Evans said: “This is an exciting opportunity to transform a 1990s office complex into a dynamic collaborative 21st century campus.”
Plans are also in for an extensive makeover of Capstan House, renamed R2, by 2018 which includes more retail on the ground floor and a removal of part of Clove Crescent.
The area between the building will become a water garden which stretches down to the existing lake and the Grade II listed wall around the site, the only remnant of the original docks, will be lined with small gardens and street food stalls.
Plans are not yet confirmed for Lighterman House (R3) or Mulberry Place (R4), home to Tower Hamlets Council which is moving to Whitechapel in 2020, but they are due for completion by 2019 and 2021 respectively.
The man behind the project is principal of Trilogy Property Robert Wolstenholme.
He said the area had been overlooked but the five-year development would create a 650,000 sq ft “trophy” workplace with rents of less than £35 a sq ft, half the cost of Shoreditch and a third of the West End.
He added: “We’re creating a next generation work campus, with rents aimed at bringing London’s most talented young businesses to East India Dock.”
As well as young firms, he also wants to attract independent retailers to the area and temporary cultural hub Off-Quay and pop-up restaurant Quilombero have already opened.
Robert has drawn inspiration for the project from the Alphabeta building in Finsbury Square which he worked on with Studio RHE.
He said: “The journey from Shoreditch to Tower Hamlets has been a deliberate one, as we look to create the next generation of offices bringing new innovations in sustainability, wellness and placemaking. Our aim is to create a ‘trophy’ workplace for London but deliverable at occupational costs comparable to Manchester, Birmingham or Reading.”
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