Chelsea Harbour Drive


The Chelsea Harbour Drive project is a luxury apartment and retail scheme located on a brownfield site which forms part of the Chelsea Harbour Development. There are three main compositional elements – a twelve and a nine storey tower and a five storey crescent, which links the two towers.

The majority of the apartments have views along Chelsea Creek to the River Thames and the City beyond, and there is a communal rooftop garden on the top floor of the crescent.

  • Client Chelsea Harbour Limted
  • Programme Planning
  • Area 18,307m²

The scheme creates a new public open space and Creekside walk. The Buildings create a defined edge to the street and, together with the Chelsea Design Centre, create a new urban space.

Each element of composition is clearly expressed and is designed to use a shared architectural language and palette of materials to give coherent, consistent composition enlivened by a variety of building heights, building forms and juxtapositions.

A pre-cast concrete frame provides both the main structural support elements for the building and creates a unifying visual component that frames infill panels of calcareous stone, clear and opaque glass and facing brickwork.

The overall objective of these scheme was to enhance the existing Design Centre and the recently approved planning permission which will contribute towards reinforcing the design centre as a premier destination in Europe for interior design. In addition to the improved Design Centre, this vacant site was to be developed as a high quality landmark building, to establish a legible visual marker to Chelsea Harbour and create a real sense of arrival into the Harbour development.

The proposed development forms an integral part of the Chelsea Harbour scheme and has been designed to encourage pedestrians to journey through the scheme from the Chelsea Design Centre to the new plaza adjacent to Chelsea Creek, with level access to all ground floor accommodation. The proposals for the new plaza include a play area and seating space that will provide a valuable amenity and will also frame the open space, as well as terminating the views along the pedestrian access routes to the plaza.

The apparent scale of the proposed tower is reduced by stepping this element vertically and horizontally, and by using a subtle palette of high quality materials, providing an articulated and visually stimulating building form. Only the tower on the north east corner of the site extends to the full twelve storeys forming a slender elegant landmark that turns the corner formed by Chelsea Creek and Harbour Avenue. The top two floors of the tower are treated in a subtly different way from the lower floors to create a distinct top that further reduces the apparent scale of this element.

The proposed building has been designed in a contemporary architectural style using a restrained palette of high quality traditional materials, producing a design that is elegant, honest and legible. The architectural language creates a building where each element of the composition is appropriate to its use, using materials and detailing that will be easy to maintain allowing the building to stand the test of time. The overall composition is visually stimulating and makes a positive contribution to enhancing the local environment.

The Creekside block reinforces the edge of Chelsea Creek and echoes the scale of the existing developments to the north and the proposed development to the west of the London Overground railway line. The Creekside block retains the framed language of the tower but uses brickwork rather than calcareous stone as infill panels.

This adds richness and another colour and texture to the composition and gives this element its own specific character alluding to the historic waterside buildings along the Thames whilst fitting within the contemporary idiom and materiality established for rest of the design.

The western eight storey element terminates the view along Harbour Avenue from Imperial Wharf station and is designed to relate in scale and material to the approved Chelsea Creek development on the western side of the railway line. The brick facing materials continue the palette established on the crescent but here brickwork dominates, with the pre-cast frame expressed only at the junction with the crescent and at the top of the brickwork panels.

Projecting balconies enliven and articulate the elevation providing residents with outdoor amenity space overlooking the new plaza and the creek. The recessed ground floor creates a defined base to the building with structural pre-cast blades providing rhythm and order.