Reflections on the Dock(lands) – Freddie Heaf

BUJ Partner Freddie Heaf attended the ‘Isle of Dogs: London’s emerging metropolis’ NLA on Location event last week and has shared some of his thoughts and aspects of ongoing research at BUJ about the development of the Isle:

After a fantastic conference by the NLA I wanted to reflect on what the emerging urban qualities for the Isle of Dogs would create. It is a unique place in the UK, accommodating some of the the densest residencies, tallest buildings, and richest companies. Even considering this it is currently undergoing a massive intensification, which will make it even more spectacularly juxtaposed to the majority of the country, and perhaps the capital. Development here is not slowing, and growth is expected to continue well into the future.

I love the Isle in so many ways and congratulate the local authority for recognising and celebrating its unique qualities. Through their support of these super structures the Isle is a place like no other, but this uniqueness brings with it an experimental quality that must be treated as such; that while we can hope that development here is successful in the future we must also be critical, constantly reviewing – testing and analysing – what spaces and places are being created.

To help navigate this rapid change BUJ have started an ongoing research project into the Isle and its evolving urban fabric. One of our initial steps was to plot the consented, but yet to be constructed, structures along a portion of Marsh Wall, which carry with them some very impressive statistics for such a small area:


Within our catchment the approved schemes include office space, hotels, retail, leisure facilities, schools and over 11,000 dwellings. The tallest buildings consented are up to 75 Storeys / 241m high.

We visited the Isle as part of our 2 day walking event in January to discuss the emerging region and visit over a dozen BUJ buildings. Below is a small sample of the stopping points which included the BUJ-designed Novotel, Rolfe-Judd-designed 2 Millharbour, SOM-designed Baltimore Tower, BUJ-delivered Indescon Square & BUJ-designed Millharbour. All photography by Joseph R. Goodwin, Creative Director. (