Working as part of a team led by Stirling Prize winners Mikhail Riches, RCKa has been appointed to help masterplan the last new neighbourhood in the Olympic Park.

The London Legacy Development Corporation’s plans for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park sees the creation of five new neighbourhoods. Pudding Mill and Bridgewater will be the last of these to be delivered. Comprising two distinct, but adjacent, sites the masterplan will deliver around 1,500 new homes and workspace for around 2,000 people.

Bridgewater is an island site and will be a beautiful new riverside residential community. It will provide approximately 600 homes on the southern edge of the world-famous Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with waterfront houses and apartments knitted into this special setting. The new UCL East development, London Aquatics Centre and London Stadium are its immediate neighbours. The cultural and education district of Stratford Waterfront, the offices of the International Quarter London and the shops at Westfield are only 10 minutes away. At the crossing point of High Street Stratford, the Greenway and enveloped by the bucolic Waterworks River, RCKa and Mikhail Riches will be working together to design a landscape-led, high-density, mid-rise development which includes a high proportion of family homes.

Our brief is to create generous family homes and amenity spaces, providing streets as social spaces featuring opportunities for play. To create these homes at the densities required an innovative approach to housing design is necessary, with the client supporting investigations into non-conventional residential layouts. The site sits at an intersection between areas of vastly contrasting wealth and aspiration, and it has the potential to act as a catalyst for change. RCKa has been leading the public consultation process which is embedding the local community’s knowledge of the site into the design process, and drawing on existing and emerging local talent to help shape the emerging design.

The masterplan design is now emerging, with a planning application due to be submitted towards the end of 2020. A second team, led by Gort Scott architects with 5th Studio and ZCD architects are working up plans for Pudding Mill Lane in parallel, and both schemes will form a single hybrid planning application. A replacement bridge, designed by William Matthews Associates, will provide access to the Bridgewater site across the Waterworks River.