ACR Investments has completed its £18m East shopping centre designed by Wren Architecture & Design creating a heart for Asian retail on Green Street, East London. The scheme is on the site of a former bus depot that had been derelict for 60 years, and is an innovative example of retail-led regeneration bringing a renewed vibrancy to the Green Street area at Upton Park.
The site is situated in a prominent town centre location, and had been earmarked by the London Borough of Newham as a location that needed to be redeveloped for an alternative use. East has addressed this issue, underpinning a thriving Asian community shopping destination which is already ‘on the map’, drawing people from both the local area and the wider Asian community from further afield.
The new 3,900 sq m retail hub comprises 37 individual, two-storey retail units along an internal covered street which terminates with a ground floor souk that has 17 smaller units. A food court on the first floor situated at the rear of the shopping centre acts as a footfall driving anchor, with six quality Asian restaurants and communal seating, recognising the importance of dining and socialising in Asian culture.
East’s design typology was purposely drawn from an analysis of existing retail provision on Green Street, and to ensure it meets the specific demands of local retailers. Philip Wren of Wren Architecture & Design commented: “East’s retail space is tailored to the local Asian independent retailer market.
“Unlike many modern chain retailers, Asian shop owners tend to make maximum use of two storey retail units that allow for flexible trading, with window displays over two levels maximising the opportunity to show merchandise such as fabrics and fashion. East provides small scale units with double-storey shop frontages to the mall with a mezzanine set back from the front to create the opportunity for more theatrical displays,” he continued.
Echoes of the Victorian bus station remain. Its original distinctive façade has been retained to preserve the character of the high street, local history and to emphasise the sense of destination. Internally, the roof consists of bow string trusses that echo the quality of the original bus depot roof structure, allowing daylight to flood into the arcade, and enabling natural ventilation with side louvres at a high level.
Wren Architecture & Design held detailed discussions with the London Borough of Newham during the planning process to ensure the shopping centre significantly contributed to the regeneration of the Borough’s town centre. Care was taken to ensure East Shopping Centre would complement, balance and act as an anchor to the existing Queens Market at the southern end of Green Street.
East’s redevelopment meets the spatial regeneration objectives of Newham District Council, to deliver sustainable and cohesive communities. It achieved a BREEAM Very Good rating for its energy efficient features such as PV panels on the building’s roof, building fabric with enhanced thermal performance and energy efficient LED lighting throughout the scheme.
In the context of regulation of new buildings in this part of Newham, a BREEAM Very Good rating is considered by the local authority to be a significant step forward in providing well designed energy efficient retail units for this community.