Design cutbacks at Woolwich towers

Two towers in Woolwich located beside the Thames continue to take shape after years of delay – though looking quite different to what was promised.

This is the latest phase of Mast Quay or Sky Sail as it’s now apparently called.

Tallest tower of four across entire development

The project was stuck in nearly 20 years of development hell hence the decidedly dated look of the final two blocks.

We’ve seen faux Georgian to Tudor to Victorian so let’s have some faux Millennium.

The legacy of many, many delays means the worst of the 2000-era is in evidence with very small windows and a tacky, plastic-like appearance.

They’ve even managed to cut back the design further from 2018 renders.

Here’s the smaller of the two towers:

Not great

Renders before construction commenced showed balconies on the exterior closer to the river on this block. None exist so far.

It also appears that a solid wall of glazing on the edge of the western façade nearest the Thames has been removed in cut backs. Sorry, “value engineering”.

See below, then scroll up and look at the image above. Quite the difference.

Dated design

Note the change in window size.

The name Mast Quay is apparently derived from a glazed façade representing a sail on the main tower. No sign of it so far, though to be fair the tallest main tower is far from complete and various renders from the developer go out of their way to limit views of the development – particular from Woolwich.

Given cut backs on the other tower, will that main “sail” feature appear?

Other earlier renders show the finished article across both towers:

Render of completed tower

Here’s one from over the Thames where the mess facing Woolwich is not evident.

Both blocks will be build to rent aimed at younger people. The advent and proximity of Crossrail is of course a major attraction to investors and future residents.

When it finally finishes the Thames Path should reopen after years of closure.

If the dedicated cycle lane ever reaches this far residents will also have a fully segregated lane to central London. Given the likely demographic of residents (typically younger people not looking for suburban car owning life), that should appeal greatly to many.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

3 thoughts on “Design cutbacks at Woolwich towers

  • They look like they were built using Lego – dreadful.

  • I own some properties on the Royal Arsenal. At least Berkeley has always built to a good specification. THis Mast Quay does not look great.

  • Did RBG approve these cost-cutting measures at the “gateway” to Woolwich?


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