Warehouses Reimagined


Our Brickfields scheme in Hayes is a celebration of brick as a hand-crafted construction material, a link to the history of the site. The contemporary design scheme is a re-imagining of formal and informal warehouses. Inspiration is taken from the way brick was used in Victorian warehouse design and from how utilitarian buildings evolved to expedite thriving and growing industry.

Brickmaking was a key area of work for Hayes until the end of the nineteenth century. The site was a brick field alongside the Grand Union Canal, which runs from London to Birmingham. To transport the goods, Shackles Dock was constructed and London Stocks were supplied in their millions for the building of the ‘new’ London.

The Aeolian piano factory and a thriving brickmaking industry were once on the site

The ‘L’ shaped site is a short walk from Hayes town centre and the new Crossrail station. The location and surroundings contain a variety of industrial buildings including listed former piano and chair factories. On the other side of the canal is High Point Village, a Rolfe Judd project which completed in 2010.

Our proposals for the Brickfields development focus on the creation of a cohesive urban design, providing a range of spaces for new residents and the wider local community. These include a hub for the canoe club, towpath walkway and spaces for play, contemplation and socialising.

The site and surroundings contain industrial buildings, formal and informal warehouses

The building forms take a direct cue from the sites former use. The design celebrates and reimagines its brickmaking history by taking inspiration from both formal and informal industrial buildings.

“The once thriving industrial uses of the site was an influence. We were interested in the random mix of old warehouse sheds, the materials and their arrangement, which contrasted with the uniform brick Victorian warehouses. We have re-imagined these two styles in a way which is cutting edge and up-to-date.”

Guy Harris, Director, Rolfe Judd

Formal Victorian warehouses, though usually plain and utilitarian, were often built in brick with classically based details. Regular, structured bays and window openings establish a formal quality to the elevation. The proposed formal buildings are taller and located alongside the canal. A dock end element in modular metal panels is evocative of the trays used in the brickmaking process.

A formal warehouse elevation is completed with a metal dock end element

Taller, formal warehouse buildings are located alongside the canal

In contrast are the sprawling, industrial sheds which grew, evolved and adapted according to the business needs. Buildings were subdivided or added to, openings were created or windows bricked-up. Industrial roofing material such as corrugated metal, would begin to rust with their exposure to the elements. The dockside buildings are a reinterpretation of the informal warehouse, reflected in the composition of the elevations. Façades references the distinctive profiles of the randomised industrial roofs capes using rust coloured metal and differing brick.

The distinctive profiles of the randomised industrial roofscape are referenced in the façade design

Informal warehouse buildings are located alongside Shackles Dock

Throughout, the carefully crafted building forms and choice of materials feature thoughtful brickwork and metalwork detailing within their facades and roofscapes. The vision is for Brickfields to reinvigorate the dock and the canal, creating a new community connected to its past and its location.