Back to Content

Preview: Thames Refinery City by William Bellamy

Completed in the winter term 2018, here we take a first look at the design ideas emerging in the current Proto-Practice Year

In Second Year – our Proto-Practice Year – students develop individual thesis design projects. To commence the year, each student undertakes the module Architectural Design: Speculation, where they test their design approach through a specific proposal.

Here, current student William Bellamy’s objective is to provide a porous poly-centre for the Docklands that promotes the integration of industry into the urban fabric through a re-evaluation of who and what the Thames is for, countering the river’s privatisation which has seen industry pushed further out of the city.

This project will be developed over the coming two terms and will be exhibited at the Summer Show in 2019. Click below to see more projects from current students.

Annecy Attlee

Tom Badger

Michael Cradock

Joe Walker

Maelys Garreau


With its closure imminent, what more can London’s 140-year-old refinery offer Londoners?
To understand what could be here, there first needs to be an understanding of what already exists.
The Tate & Lyle refinery is an industrial complex of tens of buildings, both small and large that have refined imported sugar in East London with raw sugar imported along the Thames. The spaces created by this functionalist architecture have created a unique opportunity for Londoners.
Experimenting with proposed massing and interventions into the existing conditions.
How can the existing, additive conditions create a stage and different opportunities for occupants to have a sense of ownership over the city? What can be lifted up, broken through removed or left to provide space for life to happen?
Proposed section illustrating how the existing buildings might be reinterpreted for new programmes to invigorate the city, whilst new builds might be introduced to add what is missing.
Looking northwards onto the project: The new square adds to the site whilst resisting taking away from existing monumental structures. Its language is derived from its context.