Landolt + Brown were appointed by Network Rail and the LLDC to develop a new station and pedestrian connection beneath the railway at Hackney Wick.
The architects worked in collaboration with artist Wendy Hardie, developing a creative approach which explores overlapping themes drawn from the Lee River and Hackney Wick’s lost chemical industries. It embraces the massive concrete structures required to form the underpass and retaining walls, exploiting their weighty character to reflect the silty waters of the Lee.
The project incorporates a 2000 tonne concrete portal which was lifted in place over Easter 2017 to form the underpass, connected by a pair of louvre-enclosed stair towers to the station platforms above. The new entrance is set beneath a weathering steel canopy and addresses a new public space on White Hart Lane. In the long-term a new connection will also be formed to the north. The underpass is divided by a wall of extruded glass hexagons which separate station circulation from the new public connection. The crystalline form of this wall reflects shards of daylight deep into the subway, evoking memories of the watery spaces under the Lee Navigation bridges.
Surfaces change from saw-tooth profile - drawing on the canal’s sheet piled edges - to board-cast concrete which echos the bark of willows alongside the Lee. Cement mixes and terrazzo were hand-selected to reflect the gravel paths and concrete planks of the local towpaths and a frieze cast into the underpass wall abstracts chemical symbols taken from the Wick’s lost chemical industries.