Mile End


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Iain Carson @ KCA

Iain Carson as Director at Karakusevic Carson was actively involved in the design of a proposal that breathes new life to a former car showroom and garage, close to Mile End underground station and opposite Queen Mary University. The proposal combines academic facilities including a teaching facility for in excess of 300 full-time students, student housing comprising 361 single and double studio apartments, a cafe and amenity areas.

Working with Queen Mary University, the site is bound by Mile End Road, Grand Union Canal, student housing and light industry. In urban design terms there is little enclosure to the street at this part of Mile End Road, and scales change from three storey housing to seven story flatted dwellings.

The design solution offers length over height on this narrow site. The building footprint seeks to re-address and engage the street, following existing lines within the urban fabric and regaining the structure of the grain. Visually the 150m long building is broken into separate elements by varying the scale, massing and material treatments. The change in scale from 11 to 7 to 5 to 3 storeys allows a play on light to the back of the site, to allow light penetration across the length of the site to neighbouring family housing. By breaking the length of the building and changing the scale the length of the building is not read as being close to 150m long. The elevation is given relief through changes in material treatments, and as a series of conjoined elements. There is cohesion to the proportions to openings and care is taken to provide animation to the street frontage where it exhibits amenity areas.

Approval was secured for a temporary change of use to allow occupation by officials and others associated with the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.