Project Orange / Powdertech (Corby) Ltd

Rathbone Market, Canning Town

Rathbone Market is the third phase of a significant regeneration project in London’s Canning Town, for English Cities Fund. The development provides 216 new homes of which the tenure is 25% affordable, 25% private sale, and 50% PRS.

Canning Town is an area of East London and part of the London Borough of Newham situated in a former docklands backland area to the north side of the River Thames. The building is bounded to the south by the busy A13 and to the north and east by existing housing backing onto the High Street. A new pedestrian square to the west links the building to phases 1 and 2.


Project Orange felt the challenge was to design a building that has a sense of place, that is approachable and is somewhere to call home. The strategy called out for three linked blocks that sit in a ‘C’ configuration, open to the southerly aspect with all residential cores accessed from a garden.

All ground floor apartments are two-storey, with generous four metre tall ceilings, their own front doors and back gardens onto the courtyard garden contributing to the lively neighbourhood experience.Rathbone-Market-project-orange-powdertech-corby-2

The massing of the project is of a completely different scale to the neighbouring traditional housing; it is urban, massive and robust. In order to give scale and detail to the building we sought to erode the form creating an informal profile at roof level. The façade is a cascading composition of windows, balconies and panel elements that allow for a multitude of conditions and expressions.Rathbone-Market-project-orange-powdertech-corby-1Close collaboration between subcontractors; including fabricator/galvanizer/powder coater led to the design being correctly detailed to obtain the desired results.

The firms met to discuss design elements that would optimise the balustrade fabrication, galvanizing and powder coating finish. Optimum design of steel fabrications for galvanizing and subsequent powder coating is critical to the final success of the metal finish, both for aesthetic and functional aspects.

At various stages during the fabrication, galvanising and metal finishing they visited each other’s premises to review the process taking place and to ensure that all was working to plan. The initial completed assemblies were inspected by the architect at the fabricator’s premises before further assemblies were made.


The inner façades of the courtyard are clad in a collage of pale bricks and bronze metal panels that reflect the light, while the outer skin is of textured grey brick offering a more rugged surface to the external faces of the building.

The building therefore is a collection of materials and motifs in a patchwork that is vibrant, colourful and dynamic. Well planning and innovative architecture will assist in making Canning Town a thriving community.

Images © Jack Hobhouse

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