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The Lea Valley Gin Distillery

Part 1 Project 2013
Clare Hawes
University of Lincoln, UK
The project is a response to an initial study of the Lea Valley, one of Europe’s largest regeneration sites. The rigorous study offered an insight into the role that the Lea Valley has played as a powerhouse of industrial innovation and in the supply of energy, water and goods to support the growth of London. The project proposal aims to reclaim some of the Lea Valley’s original spirit for invention, innovation and manufacture through re-engaging with past and present uses of the site.

The brief for the design project is a Gin Distillery situated by the Warwick reservoirs of the Lea Valley. The project builds upon the reservoirs as a principal source of water supply, a striking waterscape and an important industrial landscape. The synergy of site and process were integral to the design process, and informed the architectural language of the proposal.

The project seeks to reintroduce gin distilling, a historically important industry as a catalyst for regeneration for an area that is socially deprived and has limited access to quality green space. The scheme comprises a facility for the growth of botanicals for the gin, the distillation of gin, a bottling hall and a gin palace. It also has a viewing tower, which provides an unrivalled panoramic view of London.

The project seeks to eliminate the severance between people and landscape that exists in the valley. There is a lack of awareness about the Walthamstow reservoirs and their accessibility; many people are uninformed of the facilities available and the diversity of species that inhabit the area. It is intended that the unique landscape will become a valued part of life for local people and a popular regional destination so the site can be utilised to its potential and enhance the unique identity of the area.

Clare Hawes


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