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LDA design and the 'new industrial district'

Aerial view of Albert Island, Royal Docks, London (with London City Airport runway top left) - LDA Design

Newham Council has granted planning permission to London + Regional for Albert Island, an exciting new industrial site on the Thames, to the east of City Airport in London's Royal Docks.

The master plan will create the first new shipyard on the Thames in 300 years, as well as restore the existing marina and strengthen employment opportunities in the area.

LDA Design has been working as landscape architects with masterplan lead Haworth Tompkins, and specialist industrial architecture by Ashton Smith.

Albert Island historically formed the river frontage of the King George V Dock - the last of London's upstream enclosed docks which was completed in 1921. Rethinking the site will create a well-connected, sustainable waterside hub with a lively mix of uses, and excellent cycling and walking links.

LDA's public realm designs establish a new riverfront walk that links the communities to the north and south. Access to the foreshore will be improved and made all-inclusive, and the natural river environment will be restored. The ambition is to create a new piece of city and set a benchmark for industrial design where the usual trappings of industrial estates - endless drab paving, tall security fences, surface car parking and minimal, low maintenance shrub planting - are absent.

Albert Island will be a place for makers and start-ups, creating up to 1,200 new jobs. The local marina will be upgraded to create a fully functioning mooring for boats on the Thames. Manufacturing, heavy and light industry and distribution centres will be based here and embedded within welcoming, attractive and hardworking maritime public spaces. Ground floors will be animated, creating new retail opportunities and supporting local residents.

LDA's plans for the outdoors are inspired by historic dockyards and designed to facilitate easy movement to complement the scale of the double-height architecture. A strong post-industrial landscape character will be maintained with maritime planting and marine wildlife habitats safeguarded. The buildings provide a multi-level typology not currently on offer in the UK, providing a modern solution to London's industrial needs.

Commenting on the planning news, Cannon Ivers, a director at LDA Design, said:

'Albert Island sets out to do something different to create a new type of industrial landscape and typology. The plan is that it becomes a thriving base for industry and innovation, with a state-of-the-art shipyard. But it will also be a place where people are invited in rather than kept out, with cycling routes and a riverfront walk that better connects local communities'.

Work is anticipated to start on site in 2022.


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