Situated on a disused dockyard in East London, close to London City Airport, is Royal Albert Dock. This new 35-acre business hub, designed by Farrells architects for client ABP (London) Investments, will become London’s third business hotspot – but it’s not the location that makes Royal Albert Dock so unique: Phase 1, circa 650,000 ft², of this huge project was constructed and completed in just under two years. The AKT II project directors, Steve Toon and Ione Varela, outline how a project of this scale was constructed with such speed.
Prior to ABP’s purchase of the land from the GLA, the historic east-end waterfront, although left empty and unattended for decades, was previously renowned for its links with trade and commerce. During the Second World War, the docks were heavily targeted in air raids, meaning that the potential risk of encountering unexploded ordnance was high. Foundation construction was carefully managed and monitored throughout by all the teams involved.
Before construction began, it was discovered that one of the UK’s most threatened species of invertebrates were living in rubble mounds scattered across the site. The streaked bombardier beetles were carefully relocated under the guidance of ecologists to other areas of the site, prior to work commencing.