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Channelsea Stratford, London

Working with our client Dominus for Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), our purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) proposal is a crafted tower that encourages community on Stratford High Street, London.

Standing proudly at a key location on the high street, the project provides high-quality student homes alongside a new community pub, affordable workspace and a new public square connected to the rich biodiversity of the newly opened Channelsea River.

The elegant and slender ‘teardrop’ form, with its graceful curves, echoed throughout the building, creates a distinct design. A deep-crafted precast façade in a bold red tone with delicate light metalwork references the architecture of the local historic context.

The project will offer a host of public benefits in the form of The Channelsea—a not-for-profit community corner pub to be operated by Made-Up-Collective; Channelsea Studios—100% affordable workspaces for local businesses; and Channelsea Terrace—a pocket park that will enhance local biodiversity and offer welcome greenery to Stratford High Street along with allowing the public to view and enjoy the Channelsea River for the first time in decades.

The new public realm surrounds the community pub and ties together several key approaches, bringing communities, including the Carpenter Estate, to enjoy this green haven that offers respite along the busy High Street. Commissioned public artwork will be provided above the pub and integrated into the building’s façade.

Key to student wellbeing is a series of amenities, comprising a ground-floor riverside terrace with views onto the Channelsea River, a wellness hub and supporting social spaces located centrally within the tower, which open onto a private garden terrace. These principal amenity spaces have fantastic views across London and are equitably placed in the building to attract the entire student population and promote interaction. Inclusivity and accessibility throughout the scheme are designed to the highest standards.

The project’s strong sustainability and carbon aspirations feature initiatives such as high standards of repetition, support off-site manufacturing significantly reducing embodied carbon, a lean use of materials and very high quality in every aspect of the build. The project is designed to be BREEAM Excellent and meet the GLA’s aspirational levels of carbon reduction.

Alan McCartney, Partner at Howells, explained: “We’re excited to share how this scheme harnesses great quality public benefits, alongside high-quality PBSA rooms and student amenities. Situated on a constrained site, the tear-drop plan creates a beautiful and crafted building form for this location. We believe the project represents the best in modern student accommodation and provides a robust, equitable, low-carbon design—one that confidently contributes to the fabric of Stratford.”

John Iveson, Director of Campus & Commercial Services at QMUL, said: “Working with Dominus and Howells, the proposed scheme will open the doors of opportunity for our students locally and internationally, as well as invest in the economy of East London. Proposals have undergone an extensive pre-application review process, alongside public consultation, all of which has positively contributed to the submitted scheme.”

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