Yesterday afternoon, the Urban Design studio went on a study trip to Brentford Lock West which was originally masterplanned by Urbed in 2010.
Phase 1 (pictured above), by Morris+Company, Mikhail Riches and Karakusevic Carson Architects, is very well established. We were lucky enough to get access into the courtyard (pictured below), designed by landscape architects Camlins. Private back gardens, whilst overlooking the central shared amenity space, did not feel significantly exposed thanks to the planting strategy. It was nice to see that these gardens were well-used. Another nice surprise was the visit up to the community garden/allotment space on the roof, which is a highly successful resident-led initiative.
Phase 2, by Mae, is currently on site. It ties into the first phase seamlessly, with a clear continuation in colour and materiality. A planning application is currently being prepared for Phase 3, which will include all off the affordable housing (20% of the total scheme), alongside a new public square fronting the Grand Union Canal, commercial and retail spaces, a new footbridge over the canal to improve connections to Brentford Station and a new overhanging warehouse frame to maintain the industrial heritage of the existing buildings on the site.
Although the density of this development has increased significantly since outline planning, it is an excellent example of high quality urban design with generous streets (free from parking!), very successful landscaping and well thought out built form. The scheme integrates well into an existing industrial area. Urbed’s masterplan for Brentford Lock West is undoubtedly being realised - their framework has ensured that the overall vision is being delivered whilst allowing a degree of flexibility, enabling each block/phase to develop a separate identity. It will be interesting to re-visit Phase 3 when it is completed.