hermitage moorings – wapping london E1

A mixed use development and catalyst for reviving London’s river heritage.

Working with a group of people who had formed themselves into a cooperative, we designed this floating infrastructure in an iconic London location. By sharing facilities and largely self-building to keep costs down, quality and character were maintained as the overall aims.

The challenge was to accommodate the members’ boats (essentially private dwellings) alongside shared spaces for community and public use, in a sensitive historic environment.

The concept of the shared Pierhouse was central to the moorings, but due to the high cost of the pontoon infrastructure, only a small budget remained for its construction.

A prefabricated green Douglas fir frame with a trussed ridge beam was erected on site in three days. The single corrugated metal roof with large overhanging eaves binds together the different uses within internal and external areas. Black slatted timber screens provide the shed-like building with privacy whilst recalling the boathouses on the Thames, and the tar stained fisherman huts along the coast.

A watersource heatpump uses the Thames’ latent energy to heat the Pierhouse.
Being both a model for living and architecture, the building has had a high impact, cited in 2011 by the Economist magazine as a top-five venue at in the London Open House weekend.

By proposing solutions for city living, and promoting the character of river life, the public yet domestic architecture aims to be both political and beautiful.