Brentford Lock, Middlesex

All Case Studies


Inject new life into Brentford through the delivery of 700 new homes, whilst drawing inspiration from nearby historical masonry buildings. Maximising the waterside location in both design and iconography were focal points.


This solid and unstinting building is part of the broader regeneration of Brentford Lock West, an award-winning development by Waterside Places.  The project is an ambitious plan to inject new life into Brentford through the delivery of over 700 new homes. Situated near local shops, parks and leisure opportunities, the scheme has maximised the benefits of its waterside location in both design and iconography, recreating the community of canal life through shared streets and canal-side walkways that encourage walking and cycling.

Drawing inspiration from both nearby historical masonry buildings and the industrial context of the canal-side setting, Block E is a building of mass and presence, creating 42 exemplary new places for people to live.

A double-height entrance hall defines the arrival point, providing canal views and a community focus. Deep façades create full-width, versatile outdoor covered loggias, facing directly onto and animating the canal. Elsewhere, generous cantilevered balconies pick up the rhythm of the earlier adjacent Phase 1, bringing life to the shared surface street.

A robust, earthy material palette of brick, in situ concrete and reconstituted stone, with the addition of render in sheltered locations, complement both the historic setting and materials from Phase 1 – all selected to wear and age gracefully.

The use of brick and clay paving was fundamental to the design approach as it draws from the retained wharf buildings and the adjoining new residential development, creating a durable, yet tactile building that sits comfortably in its setting. The set of pavilions, each with warm orange and yellow multi-brick, anchors the corners of the plot. The building’s distinctive saw-tooth roofs reflect the site’s industrial past and bring light into upper-floor homes.

The brick columns and deep brick reveals to the windows reference traditional canal-side buildings and express the deliberate robustness of the proposal. Materials have been selected to age well and gracefully in addition to providing richness and variation to the waterfront elevation on the Grand Union Canal.

The building uses brick to create a spatial presence and sensual quality, drawing the outside in through a double-height, brick-lined entrance hall. Clay pavers, with a rich earthy brown tone and laid in a herringbone pattern, subtly promote pedestrians above vehicles and give a human scale to the ground plane. The brick skin of each pavilion is modulated with fair-faced concrete loggias, and elsewhere cantilevered steel balconies, which provide a contrast to the warm brick tones.

The grey ground floor brick was selected to create a strong base to the building and to tie in harmoniously with the concrete loggias and pre-cast band. At the upper levels, the brick changes to a Multi Yellow using a traditional clamp firing process. This brick and the flush brushed joints establish an expressed mass and warm finish, reflecting both the industrial past and the residential future.

The generous proportions of this residential building and the celebration of communality in the fundamentals of its design offers a sensitive and enduring reinterpretation of Brentford Lock’s historic canal-side setting.

Client/Developer: Waterside Places