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Xavier Smales — Thameside West Masterplan

Regenerative Masterplan. Regenerating a 16 hectare former industrial site on the edge of the River Thames into a mixed use neighbourhood informed by integral sustainable design principles.

Thameside West Masterplan — A truly sustainable neighbourhood masterplan. By Xavier Smales.



Silvertown, London Borough of Newham



To transform a 16Ha former industrial site on the edge of the River Thames into a thriving mixed-use neighbourhood that regenerates the natural world and evolves the social, cultural and psychological health of the city.



While enablers of the built environment appear to champion sustainability, most major developments undermine any prospect of mitigating the environmental crisis. If we are truly to take sustainability seriously, we must use the neighbourhood as grounding, as all human life starts here. 



Specific criteria that define the deeper purpose of a place in a precise context explore a masterplan for ‘Thameside West’ in Newham. The project is an alternative design for the site to the existing proposal by Foster + Partners and is followed by a detailed study of neighbourhoods within the plan.



The project will be a model for dense, humane development that minimises environmental impact. The matrix developed will be a way of assessing the holistic sustainability of future masterplans.


Neighbourhood. The site is made of cluster communities within which adults meet and slowly bond and where children play, grow up and are socialised, providing essential psychological and existential grounding.
Life > Space > Buildings. Axo shows the layering of life in this masterplan, from ecology to movement to buildings.
Moments. Key spatial experiences around the site.
Urban / Natural. All homes are dual aspect and have 2 different frontages; the public facing facade is more closed and discreet whilst a garden facing facade is more open and soft.


Courtyard. A natural courtyard that promotes a happy, sustainable + communal lifestyle. The language is open, natural and warm. Each unit has a generous semi-private terrace with an integrated planter, encouraging residents to tend to a small tree or shrub. Terraces are connected with a shared deck for children to run round and for neighbours to interact.


Resident’s Entrance. The first impressions upon arrival are important, so careful consideration has gone into designing the entrance to feel inviting, secure and social.


Active Ground Floor. All blocks have a mixed programme at ground floor as well as amenity facilities for residents on the upper levels. Cafes, creches, gyms, workshops and studios help the residents engage with the wider neighbourhood.


Shared Deck. Although not the main circulation, a shared deck connects the private terraces on each level to extend the space for children to run, and to promote interaction amongst neighbours.

Further Work

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