Living in Hackney Wick: London Festival of Architecture’s Rosa Rogina on her creative east London neighbourhood

·4-min read
Rosa Rogina outside the Ethical Bean Company on Dace Road (Matt Writtle)
Rosa Rogina outside the Ethical Bean Company on Dace Road (Matt Writtle)

I moved to Hackney Wick with my husband, who is also an architect, a year ago. I’d been in west London and was reluctant to move anywhere else but Hackney Wick has opened my eyes. We have a professional appreciation of the architecture of the area but we also love the things it offers a resident.

Eating and drinking

Grow Hackney on Wallis Road just above the Overground station is an independent bar and kitchen merged with creative space. It’s an ethical, sustainable, experimental creative business with quite an interesting offer of food. I’ve been coming to Crate Brewery and Pizzeria in Queen’s Yard since before I lived here, it has a beautiful terrace overlooking the canal.

For more special occasions, Silo London operates a circular economy model where everything’s either local or sustainably sourced and nothing goes in the bin. I really like the Ethical Bean Company on Dace Road; it’s one of the remaining buildings from the area’s more industrial era.

Crate Brewery in Queen’s Yard was a draw long before Rosa lived in Hackney Wick (Matt Writtle)
Crate Brewery in Queen’s Yard was a draw long before Rosa lived in Hackney Wick (Matt Writtle)

Where I work out

Hackney Wick sits between the River Lea, Regent’s Canal, Olympic Park, Hackney Marshes and Victoria Park so they are my gym. I like to run and almost every day I can do a different route and not pass a car. For those who love cycling, there’s the Velodrome in the Olympic Park, where you can loop in the facility or there are tracks around the outside.

Culture

There’s lots of street art so while walking around you get a sense of the creativity of the area. There are also a number of artists’ studios in former industrial spaces that are also used for events. Oslo House on Felstead Street is particularly interesting.

The Yard Theatre is a venue in a converted warehouse in Queen’s Yard. I really like Colour Factory in the same yard, you can start your night sitting outside grabbing fries and a beer and maybe the night takes you to a rave.

Green space

Victoria Park is a very big but also urban park where there’s a wonderful farmers’ market, but my personal preference is Hackney Marshes. With its green spaces, waterways and a small forest, you can very quickly forget you’re in London.

Grocery shopping

There’s a brilliant place called Refill Therapy on Wallis Road where you can bring your own containers and buy dried goods. Hackney Wick Underground on White Post Lane is a mix of workspace, exhibition space and a really nice cafe, where I always go for bread. Roman Road is not far and has shops selling things from around the world, including really good baklava and other pastries.

Getting around

I will walk to central London or catch the Overground and then find my way to town. The Elizabeth line makes such an easy connection to anywhere from Stratford.

Hackney Marshes, where you can very quickly forget you’re in London (Matt Writtle)
Hackney Marshes, where you can very quickly forget you’re in London (Matt Writtle)

Dream street

Dace Road on Fish Island. You still see lots of former factories but there’s also some new developments. The layers of history are really astonishing. It’s a nice place to reflect and imagine how it operated 100 or 200 years ago.

Something you only see in Hackney Wick

In other parts of London, there’s a clear distinction between the streets where you live and where you go out, whereas here it’s all intertwined. You might have a yard two minutes from your home where you can buy bread, you can maybe see an exhibition, you can have a pizza and a beer and you can also party.

What’s the catch?

It’s the vicious cycle of creative communities moving in to benefit from disused spaces and more affordable rent, then attracting new development so their own success kicks them out. It’s in danger of becoming a new Shoreditch.

Refill Therapy on Wallis Road (Matt Writtle)
Refill Therapy on Wallis Road (Matt Writtle)

In three words

Creativity, legacy, belonging.

The London Festival of Architecture starts today and runs throughout June at locations across the capital. Visit londonfestivalofarchitecture.org.

What it costs

Buying in Hackney Wick

Average flat price: £481,237

Average house price: £1,124,534

Renting in Hackney Wick

Average flat pcm: £1,633 pcm

Average house pcm: £2,507 pcm

Source: Savills

Schools

Primary school Mossbourne Riverside Academy is rated outstanding by Ofsted while Gainsborough Primary School gets a good rating.

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