The Growing Space

Tags: community, timber, new build

  • Client: University of Westminster, Cody Dock
  • Architect: Live Design Studio at University of Westminster
  • Photography: Edmund Sumner
  • Completion: 2023
  • Size: 68 m²
  • Expertise: Structures
The Growing Space - Webb Yates Engineers
The Growing Space - Webb Yates Engineers
The Growing Space - Webb Yates Engineers

A new lightweight, prefabricated timber ‘Therapeutic Horticulture Centre’ for the community at Cody Dock in East London. Designed following community engagement by Master of Architecture students at the University of Westminster, the single-storey structure forms part of the bustling citizen community hub at London’s Cody Dock, and was launched as part of the London Festival of Architecture 2023.
The community hub is formed using an internally exposed prefabricated Douglas Fir frame. The triangulated design gives in plane stiffness to both the walls and roof, enabling the inverted folded plate roof to span the 6m over the space with no further props or ties. The inverted roof also allows for rainwater harvesting, feeding the irrigation within the space. 

The walls span between and cantilever from the discrete concrete pad foundations. To reduce embodied carbon, a minimal number of discrete precast concrete pad footings were formed using waste concrete from the batching plant next door. Triangular timber fillets with through bolts were used to transfer the forces at nodes, simplifying these potentially complex connections, aiding buildability and reducing cost. 
Webb Yates Engineers provided the structural engineering design to enable the students to create a striking, yet understated building that was efficiently constructed over the course of 10 days.


  1. AJ Small Projects Awards 2024The Growing Space, shortlisted, 4 2024
  2. Midland Counties IStructE Awards 2023, Community, winner, 11 2023