Orms gets greenlight to transform historic Portobello Dock

Following an invited competition, Orms were appointed by Portobello Dock Limited (part of Brockton Capital) to assess the opportunity to reimagine the West London site with a collection of new buildings, structures and open spaces.

The site straddles both sides of London’s Grand Union Canal and is split across both the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (south of the canal) and Westminster (to the north of the canal) administrative boundaries. It contains a diverse range of outdoor spaces and buildings including the Grade II listed former corporation dust yard, its horse ramp and Wharf building and the Grade II listed White building.

Orms’ proposal intensifies under-utilised areas of the site and enlivens community activity and broadens the Docks appeal through the introduction of new communal spaces, enhanced, new and existing commercial buildings and a broader retail/restaurant offer.

The major interventions on the south side of the canal, recently consented by RBKC, comprise the repurposing of the canal basin, with improved access points and north-south connection across the canal, the horse ramp, the existing Grade II listed Wharf building, a series of lightweight new build timber lined units and significantly, the existing car park on the south side will be replaced by a new 670 sqm pavilion. This will create a commercial building and restaurant with a dedicated terrace connecting the new pavilion to the existing Wharf Building.

The terrace finishes will include recycled and reclaimed setts and the new pavilion building clad with reclaimed London stock bricks, in keeping with the existing fabric of the yard and to support/reference back to the historic use of the site.

John McRae, Director of Orms commented:

“It seems appropriate that such a significant site which, in its recent history has been home to Richard Branson and Tom Dixon’s businesses, can now be repurposed and re-imagined to better connect the spaces, enhance the urban realm, enrich the built environment and expand the uses to open up the site to engage with businesses of all shapes and sizes and the local community.”