David Kohn Architects
Linton House
39–51 Highgate Road
London NW5 1RT

+44 (0)20 7424 8596 tel

The White Building
View from across the Lee Navigation Channel

1/22 View from across the Lee Navigation Channel

Ground floor café shell interior

2/22 Ground floor café shell interior



4/22 Microbrewery


First floor group studio space

6/22 First floor group studio space


Lambswool insulation detail

8/22 Lambswool insulation detail




View of the Olympic Stadium

12/22 View of the Olympic Stadium


Site plan

14/22 Site plan

Ground and First Floor Plan

15/22 Ground and First Floor Plan

East elevation

16/22 East elevation

Long section

17/22 Long section

Short section

18/22 Short section

Ground floor axonometric

19/22 Ground floor axonometric

Unfolded café internal elevations

20/22 Unfolded café internal elevations

Competition sketch

21/22 Competition sketch

Design photomontage

22/22 Design photomontage

'The White Building’ is a new cultural venue in Hackney Wick commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation that forms part of the ‘Olympic Fringe’, a string of small-scale projects aimed at stitching the Olympic Park into the surrounding city fabric. The project was won through invited competition by David Kohn Architects in collaboration with Michael Pawlyn of Exploration Architecture, specialists in environmentally sustainable design.

The area is currently celebrated for being home to the highest concentration of artists' studios in Europe. The eventual tenant, Space Studios, contributed to the competition brief that proposed a cultural venue to serve the existing community as well as provide a public face to visitors. In response to the brief, we proposed that the White Building would be a venue that:

-    Is built by local people for local people;

-    Foregrounds the pleasures of making;

-    Resonates with the history of the area;

-    Works with the existing building fabric;

-    Demonstrates innovative sustainable design;
-    Is realised affordably and quickly;
-    Shows a past and future London at the Olympics.

The eventual built project used local businesses extensively for supplying materials and skills from glazing to sign-painting, steelwork to joinery. New interventions complimented the existing building fabric, such as blockwork walls on the ground floor that incorporated steel-framed windows. On the first floor, lambswool was suspended in red string nets between the existing trusses to create a soft vaulted ceiling with excellent thermal and acoustic properties. Throughout, there was a design approach that sought to use conventional construction materials, but in a playful way. Material junctions were detailed in such a way as to give even the most industrial construction a lightness of touch.

London Legacy Development Corporation: Eleanor Fawcett, Esther Everett

Design Team
Architects: David Kohn Architects, Liz Betterton, Saya Hakamata, David Kohn, Tom McGlynn (Project Architect), Ulla Tervo
in collaboration with Michael Pawlyn, Exploration Architecture
Landscape: Muf architecture/ art

Structural Engineer: Alan Baxter Associates
Civils Engineer: Stockley

Services Engineer: Capita Symonds

Project Manager: Capita Symonds

CDM Co-ordinator: Capita Symonds

Cost Consultant: Sweett Group
Graphic Designer: Modern Activity

Main Contractor: BRAC Contracts
Blockwork: Plasmor
Glazing: Caplin Glass
Sheep’s Wool: Black Mountain Insulation Ltd
Metal Windows: Monk Metal Windows
Steel Doors: Dove Steel Doors
Steel Sign: PJ Signs
Outdoor steps steelwork: Lemon Steel
Hand-Painted Signage: Ornamental Conifer and Mark Bayley

Copyright Will Pryce

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