Tunnel Wharf

Location Rotherhithe, London
Client Tunnel Wharf Developments
Content 12 Residential Units
Status Built

Sir Marc Brunel built the first tunnel under the Thames between Rotherhithe and Wapping – a great feat of engineering – and now the site on the riverside at the Rotherhithe end is owned by Bryn Bird, a leading present-day engineer, and his wife June. The conservation area is characterised by a mixture of larger and smaller separate warehouses on the river front, and the new building has to hold the north side of a square, respond to windows in a flank wall on one side and a public open space on the other.

The resultant stepped form happily coincides with the requirement to load the off-centred tunnel evenly.

Residential upper floors overlooking the river have large areas of glazing set in a strong brick frame resting on the Vierendeel truss of the commercial ground floor. Other elevations are of more conventional stock brick with window openings.

The dramatic oval tank like structure of the penthouse are enlivened with windows facing down river that spell out the name of the building. Echoing the tradition of graphic massing to direct boats arriving at the port of London.