Royal Docks Custom House

Ash Sakula was one of five teams selected for a charrette at the Excel Convention Centre in London's East End aimed at re-making connections between Excel and its neighbour, the neighbourhood of Custom House. The coming of Crossrail's Elizabeth Line has exacerbated the divide originally caused by the Docklands Light Railway line, sundering the Custom House community from its traditional place of livelihood, the waterside of the Royal Docks. The charrette was set up as a co-design event bringing together urban designers and architects, along with stakeholders including representatives from Crossrail and the local community.

The public realm works carried out in connection with Crossrail are functional and austere. Our team made the physical and social connectivity across the railways more enjoyable and easy to use, to promote a coming together of the two neighbourhoods on either side. We proposed a new pedestrian boulevard running from a revitalised dockside, past Excel and across the railway where it ramps gently down into the heart of Custom House.

All along the new route are reasons for Excel visitors to visit Custom House, and for the Custom House community to pop over to the dockside. These cues ranged from new open spaces, cafés and restaurants on the Custom House side, to piers and leisure activities inhabiting the waterside in place of the loading and unloading of cargoes in earlier years.

We made a short movie illustrating our proposal, and on presentation night it was winner for Meaningful Engagement as well as winning the Public Vote.

Awards at the Royal Docks Charrette:

Jury Award for Meaningful Engagement with Local Communities, Context and Identity

People's Choice Award

Client: London Festival of Architecture, Royal Docks Team, L B Newham, Crossrail and Excel

Timescale: November 2018 to January 2019