The Castalia building is part of a wider 950 dwelling mixed use master plan in the London borough of Newham. GRID was commissioned by Linden Homes to assist the masterplanning team to navigate GLA and Newham’s design review process. After the design strategy was agreed, GRID were asked to design the landmark building to the southern end of the site.
The Castalia Building, named after a steel hulled ship built on the site, is a 16 storey residential tower. The form is a stepped triangle in plan to respond to the shape of the site. The form provides all apartments with a corner balcony with views to the park to the south and the river Thames beyond. All of the flats are dual aspect. The building also steps in profile with the upper floors setting back towards the north to create large south facing roof terraces for the largest high level apartments. Retail/commercial space occupies the ground floor level including a cafe and performance space opening out onto the new park.
The steps in plan and section are expressed as 4 conjoined slabs – each in a slightly different brickwork colour. This helps express the massing and is achieved by using two bricks and two mortar colours in combinations. The brick motif is one of the ‘staple’ – a wrap of brick skin round a horizontal window. The resultant directionality reflects the role Castalia plays as the prow of the ship – a double metaphor.