A landscape that’s a joy to explore and that has everything you need. A place where natural beauty and historic artefacts are thoughtfully highlighted, and where every route is accessible, intuitive and suitably lit.

That is the vision for public realm in the Royal Docks, and now the Design Guides that set out a detailed code for how to achieve this have been published.

Developed by 5th Studio in collaboration with JCLA and Studio Dekka, the Guides draw on engagement sessions with stakeholders and the community on both the overarching strategy and their specific recommendations. These conversations are detailed in the Guides’ engagement appendices, and build on several years of prior consultations, such as Join the Conversation, which gathered perspectives from nearly 2,000 people during the course of last year.

The Design Guides provide a unified handbook for wayfinding, lighting and landscape, as well as guidelines for accessibility and inclusive design. They’re a detailed toolbox for architects, developers, community groups and designers – or indeed anyone who is creating design and public realm work for the area. The Guides will ensure that new projects in the Royal Docks contribute to a public realm that is coherent, legible and socially inclusive – a group of distinct neighbourhoods united by subtle and beautiful elements of continuity. Shaped by a culture of innovation, the Guides posit the Royal Docks as “an urban testbed… a site of innovation and experimentation for London”. They cover everything from light fittings, planters, species of trees and flowers, and how a banner might be attached during a special occasion.

Read more about the Guides and the GLA and LB Newham's work towards regenerating the Royal Docks here.

5th Studio has been appointed by regeneration specialist LCR to deliver a masterplan for Chester City Gateway.

Chester City Gateway is a bold vision to regenerate the historic railway station and its surrounding area, having the potential to attract significant investment into Chester and deliver the One City Plan.

Supporting lead local partner Cheshire West and Chester Council, and in collaboration with Network Rail, regeneration specialist LCR will lead on development management to advance the regeneration, public realm and transport connectivity improvements.

Following a highly competitive process, the parties have appointed 5th Studio as lead consultant, supported by a local team. Over the next six months, the team will create the masterplan and delivery strategy, working alongside engineering consultancy Arup together with CBRE and Faithful & Gould. LCR led on the appointments of the consultant team to develop the masterplan for the Chester City Gateway programme, the major regeneration and infrastructure project that will transform Chester’s railway station and surrounding land.

Alex Bowker, Development Manager in LCR’s regional North West team, said: “The formation of our consultant team marks a key milestone in a project that will help to create public value and unlock significant economic growth for Chester. Our masterplan will ensure that the railway station and its surrounding land reach their full potential, helping to deliver new homes, jobs and community assets.

“We’re excited to begin delivering on the Council’s exciting vision for Chester and realising the benefits of investment in the city’s key transport hubs, creating an outstanding experience for residents, commuters and visitors alike.”

Dr Tom Holbrook, director at 5th Studio, added: “Chester City Gateway lies at a crossroads of the key Northern Powerhouse economies of Liverpool and Manchester, the anticipated HS2 hub at Crewe, and is the North West’s gateway to Wales. This is an opportunity to maximise the potential of Chester’s railway station, cementing its role as a key Northern transport hub.
“We know that successful placemaking is greater than the sum of the project’s individual parts, and we’re excited to transform this site to tie it firmly into the life of the city.”

The Chester City Gateway regeneration project is being delivered through LCR’s ongoing partnership with Network Rail, which aims to realise the full potential of land around a portfolio of the UK’s of railway stations. Including Chester, the collaboration currently has 16 active schemes across the UK that have the potential to deliver over £2 billion GDV and 4,000 homes.

LCR and Network Rail’s partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council will see all three parties contribute equally to the cost of producing the scheme’s masterplan and spatial framework.

LCR is a purpose-led, sustainable regeneration company that strives to maximise public value from underutilised public sector assets, with emphasis on those assets connected to the UK’s network of railway stations. Through collaborations and key strategic partnerships, LCR has delivered major regeneration schemes including the £2.4 billion IQL project in Stratford, Manchester Mayfield and the transformation of King’s Cross.

5th Studio have been appointed to work with Westminster City Council’s Place Shaping team to establish a Permeability Strategy for North Paddington, addressing the severance caused by the Westway and Marylebone Flyover, the canal and the railway lines into Paddington Station.

Working with Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects, Studio Dekka and Daisy Froud, the strategy seeks to improve north-south permeability and create legible and attractive routes for walking and cycling.

The strategy will provide a holistic approach and guidance for future growth and development in the North Paddington area establishing a holistic approach to key development sites, the public realm and improvements to infrastructure in order to create new connections, public spaces and destinations.

There will be opportunities to engage with emerging thinking and proposals in due course.

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5th Studio were finalists for the Smithfield Market competition, making the final five from over 70 entries were received from across the world in a strongly fought competition that included BIG and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Our team included John O’Mara Architects, Estudio Martí Franch, Arup, Donald Hyslop, New Economics Foundation, Squint Opera, Counterculture and the Planning Lab. The other finalists comprised teams led by David Kohn Architects (the competition winners), ACME & b720 Fermín Vázquez arquitectos with James Corner Field Operations, Moreau Kusunoki Architects and Publica with Alejandro Echeverri & Shigeru Ban.

We can now reveal our submission which, as required by the competition, focussed on a design approach rather than a proposal.

The new markets will be the centrepiece of the £1.5 billion Smithfield development. Lendlease is Birmingham City Council’s preferred development partner for Smithfield and the Markets are central to the City Council’s Big City Plan, a 25-year vision to support the development of a world-class city centre.

Film above created by Squint Opera / Executive Creative Director – Oliver Alsop / Director – Jason Brooks / Producer – Yinka Obisesan

Plans by 5th Studio for a major new makerspace at Meridian Water, providing affordable workspace for hundreds of workers, have been approved by LB Enfield Planning Committee.

Building BloQs is one of Enfield Council’s key partners on Meridian Water and will play a major role in providing creative manufacturing workshop space while the development is being constructed and beyond.

Building BloQs will move into a bespoke workshop facility which incorporates an existing vehicle testing building. Together the new facility will provide more than 30,000 square feet of manufacturing workshop space with capacity for more than 1,000 workers across five major departments - Engineering, Computer Numerical Control, Wood, Metal and a Fashion Studio.

Workers would have access to more than £1million worth of light industrial equipment as well as new skills training facilities, a waterside café, gardens, shop and event space easily accessible to Enfield residents.

Enfield Council’s flagship £6 billion Meridian Water scheme is seeking to provide 10,000 homes and 6,000 jobs and to create 8.2 hectares of parkland in the Lea Valley over the coming 25 years.

The Council has taken direct control of the vision and delivery of Meridian Water to ensure that local people are the principal beneficiaries. It aims to provide thousands of affordable homes and quality jobs in Enfield as well new schools, community and health services, nurseries, shops and youth and leisure facilities.

The Leader of Enfield Council, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, said: “Building BloQs is a vital partner and this planning application seeks to provide them with flexible and affordable open access workshop space. In doing so it will increase the amount of space and facilities available to support freelance designers, makers, and small businesses while Meridian Water grows around it – and for many years to come.

“Meridian Water has always been about jobs as well as homes and this planning consent will play a major role in helping use achieve our aspiration of providing a range of good quality creative jobs on the site.”

Al Parra from Building BloQs said: “ Building BloQs and Enfield Council have today reached a truly exciting moment in our project to make affordable, manufacturing workspace available in Enfield. This planning consent fires the starting pistol on the building of a truly remarkable facility.”

5th Studio Director Tom Holbrook added: “We are really pleased that this important project has won planning consent from Enfield’s planning committee. As one of the first construction projects on the long-term Meridian Water redevelopment it is great to see this project gain momentum, and we look forward to helping get it built and occupied as a significant making and workshop resource for North London."

The Building BloQs project is part of a series of interim projects that will play a significant role in supporting the regeneration of Meridian Water. It will play a key role in defining the character of the area through placemaking and bringing unused and underused sites into use ahead of advance of longer term regeneration and development plans.

At the southern entrance to the park and adjacent to UCL’s emerging eastern campus, the new neighbourhood consists of two sites - Pudding Mill Lane and Bridgewater - the last of the five Olympic neighbourhoods to be established. Around 1,500 new homes are set to be built between the sites, alongside enough workspace for 2,000 jobs and a new neighbourhood centre.

The Pudding Mill Lane site, adjacent to the DLR station, will be designed by Gort Scott, 5th Studio and Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects. This will form one of the most mixed legacy neighbourhood on the Olympic Park, with around 900 new homes, 36,000 sqm of employment space and health & community facilities. A significant proportion of the housing is designed for families and will also include purpose-built accommodation for older people.

The Bridgewater site will be designed by Mikhail Riches, RCKa, William Matthews Associates and BBUK Landscape Architects. The plans for Bridgewater include C. 600 new homes.

The new neighbourhood will deliver 40% affordable housing, split between a mix of London Affordable Rent, London Living Rent and Shared Ownership. The entire neighbourhood has high sustainability ambitions: all commercial buildings aim for BREEAM Excellent and all homes achieving a Code for Sustainable Homes 4+. Enabling people to walk, cycle and access public transport is an important part of the development’s sustainability.

Rosanna Lawes, Executive Director of Development, London Legacy Development Corporation, said:

“Pudding Mill will be a thriving new neighbourhood on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and we’re determined to build high-quality new homes and significant commercial space, generating jobs and homes across a variety of tenures, affordable and for sale which cater for everybody. We’ll continue to work closely with people in the area as we develop our plans with our design teams, ahead of a planning application submission next year.”

Professor Tom Holbrook said:

“This commission is hugely exciting: a significant addition to over 12 years of work at a number of scales in the Lea Valley to ensure the legacy of the Olympic Games is realised through a well-integrated and mixed urban fabric.

It’s a real pleasure to be working with old friends Gort Scott and JCLA, as well as a stellar team across the two sites, with a very high design calibre. We look forward to rising to the challenge!”

Image: LLDC

Public consultation has begun on the Royal Docks strategies starting with the Newham Show and the I Love BV Summer Fun Day. A number of workshops and pop-events are taking place in LB Newham collecting valuable information for this project.

5th Studio are working with the Royal Docks Team - a joint initiative by the Mayor of London and the Mayor of Newham - on the development of a Public Realm Framework, working with stakeholders to reimagine the role of the vast water areas, to help plan for public realm improvements and to create a structure for the longer-term asset and water stewardship. 5th Studio’s work is one of three parallel studies - an economic purpose analysis led by Hatch Regeneris, and a Cultural Strategy led by Fluid with the Contemporary Arts Society.

5th Studio has created the draft Public Realm Framework with Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects, Alan Baxter, Maddison Graphic, Studio Dekka, Urban Space Management, Quod and Accertum.

To find out more about upcoming public consultation events here.

You can contribute your thoughts online here.



Image:Fluid

Twelvetrees ramp, one of the key interventions along the Leaway has topped out this week. The striking wayfinding structure has been installed at the head of the ramp to highlight the access down to the River Lea from Twelvetrees Crescent bridge.

This structure which draws on the maritime vernacular of daymarks, is designed to be clearly visible from the nearby A12 to the west, and to appear over the assortment of utility bridges to the north of Twelvetrees Crescent bridge.

The Westlegate Tower has been shortlisted by the Sunday Times for a British Homes Award.

The awards were established to celebrate and commend design excellence in today’s new homes, and feature a special category recognising the conversion and upgrading of existing buildings.

The Westlegate development transforms an 1960s office tower, creating exceptionally high-quality apartments as the centrepiece of a new mixed-use quarter in the heart of historic Norwich.

The sun is out, the external works have (almost) been completed and for a few moments before it becomes a car park again, New Court is returned to its former glory, providing a great opportunity for Tim Soar to photograph the project.

Progress has been made on the delivery of one of the first phase of Lea River Park projects at Canning Town Riverside. This previously overlooked space had become overgrown and had become an attractor for anti-social behaviour. Designs were developed to create a new public space which worked down to a new riverside clearing and are in the process of being delivered by London Borough of Newham. Hard landscaping has now been completed, including moments to pause and enjoy views along the river. New tree planting has been completed and the soft landscaping of the site to JCLA's planting plans will begin soon.

After several years of detailed planning and collaboration between the LLDC, LB Newham, LB Tower Hamlets and Transport for London, the signage strategy, which 5th Studio worked on, to incorporate the Leaway route into the Legible London family of products is coming to fruition. The Leaway route is being integrated into new Legible London signage being installed in the Lower Lea Valley, detailed updates have been carried out to incoroporate changes into the base mapping, and consideration taken into signing the route during its phased delivery.

After a summer of various Leaway projects progressing on site, the perches designed as an intrinsic element of the Leaway palette of street furniture have begun installation. They are illustrated here at the entrance to the pedestrianised Wharfside Road, an area formerly blighted by flytipping and on-street parking, which now acts as a key gateway into the developing Lea River Park.

5th Studio’s renovation of New Court has been shortlisted for this year’s Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards. These recognise and celebrate exceptional and innovative design, engineering and construction excellence that enhances the life of the built environment through the adaptation, retrofit and conservation of existing buildings.

The project provided 169 student rooms meeting contemporary standards of comfort, amenity and exceptional standards of sustainability within the historic interiors of this Grade 1 listed building. The completed project sets a landmark in the reconciliation of the potentially conflicting requirements of heritage and sustainability.

The winners will be announced at the AJ Retrofit awards in September.

New Court has been awarded the Cambridge Design and Construction Award for ‘Conservation, Alteration or Extension of an Existing Building’ and a Commendation for Sustainability - a special, discretionary award that may be awarded each year for good examples of sustainable design and construction.

The project, which provided 160 high-quality, sustainable student rooms within the historic interiors of a Grade I Listed building, sets a benchmark for reconciliation of the conflicting ambitions of sustainability and heritage. The integrated proposals have reduced the energy consumption, and will reduce the carbon emissions, by 75% and 88% respectively.

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We are keen to recieve CVs and short portfolios from Part 1 and Part 2 designers. Please contact us via recruitment@5thstudio.co.uk

We actively encourage qualified applicants who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, disabled, women and LGBTQIA+, as these groups are under-represented throughout the built environment professions.