• Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban Design
  • Housing

Ocean Estate, Tower Hamlets


The Ocean Estate was one of the country’s most deprived neighbourhoods when developers were invited to bid for the site, and working with Bellway Homes and East Thames Housing Group, we worked up proposals to refurbish 1,200 existing homes, deliver over 1,000 new homes and enhance the landscape. We were appointed on the strength of our bid and tasked with securing planning consent within just 29 weeks to meet HCA funding deadlines.

Existing monolith housing blocks have made way for smaller buildings to recreate a more traditional street pattern, designed around central courtyards with variation in scale and materials to respond appropriately to the context. The new buildings carefully integrate a variety of tenures and do not distinguish between each. Variation in bricks and balconies responds to the styles of neighbouring architecture, whilst colour adds vibrancy and accent. We appointed a local artist, Henna Nadeem, to develop a concept that could be integrated within the regeneration. She abstracted elaborate textile patterns from the area’s heritage, using the colour palette within the architecture, and fused these into the core circulation space design.

For more details, read our Project Story.

Project Details:

Placemaking on a large scale to transform a deprived estate into somewhere desirable where people really want to live.

Client: East Thames Housing Group, First Base, Bellway Homes, Wates Living Space and Spitalfields Housing Association

Construction Value: £200m

Completion: 2014

Location: Tower Hamlets


  • First Time Buyer Awards 2019, Best Urban Regeneration Project: Shortlisted
  • London Construction Awards 2016, Regeneration Project of the Year: Winner
  • Planning & Placemaking Awards 2016, Best Housing Scheme (more than 500 homes): Highly Commended
  • Planning & Placemaking Awards 2016, London Region: Shortlisted
  • Housebuilder Awards 2016, Best Regeneration Initiative: Shortlisted
  • London Planning Awards 2015, Best New Place to Live: Winner
  • WAN Urban Design Award 2014: Shortlisted
  • Urban Design Group, Practice Award 2014: Shortlisted
  • New London Awards 2014, Housing: Shortlisted
  • Housing Design Awards 2014, Complete: Shortlisted
  • RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2014, Leading the Way for Planning in Community: Shortlisted
  • British Homes Awards 2013, Affordable Housing Development of the Year: Winner
  • British Homes Awards 2013, Apartment Building of the Year: Winner
  • British Homes Awards 2013, Best Multi-storey Building: Commended
  • What House? Awards 2013, Apartment Building of the Year: Silver
  • Premier Guarantee Excellence Awards 2012, Multi-storey Development of the Year: National Winner

Image: Tim Crocker