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BDPs Second Stratford Block

Legacy is a much used word when it comes to Stratford in East London, and one that pops up again with this project for the Unite Group by BDP Design.

The project is the latest in a line of buildings offering a large amount of student accommodation for the developer, in this case some 750 bed-spaces. There will be ground floor retail to take advantage of the near-prime location the project has near Stratford Station and Westfield.

Further to this the site occupies an area between the station the intended Stratford Cultural Quarter so the ground level around it has been designed to provide specific links too and from those areas plus an enhanced public realm.

The ground floor units have been placed to bound alongside Great Eastern Road and inject some greater pedestrian use into what is currently a busy throughfare for the motorcar.

Despite this though the building is blocky, even monolithic on its northern face. Although this is partially a response to the lack of sunlight and the fact it's not a primary view, this tallest northern portion lacks the cut-outs that break up the mass on the rest of the building creating a block that has the single virtue of presenting a barrier between the rest of the site and the nearby railway line.

The height of the building here breaches the upper limit that was considered permitted for the site of 40 metres hitting a maximum of 47.5 metres AOD with a total of 14 storeys above ground.

What's perhaps most interesting about the project is what it isn't.
If this is truly the sort of legacy Stratford can expect from the Olympics, another nondescript student block that would be at home in Leeds, was the effort and expenditure of the games really worth it? Shouldn't the planning authorities have rather higher aspirations for the architecture in the area?

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