The Wilds Ecology Centre

This building acts as a gateway to a 10,800-home development at Barking Riverside, providing an ecology centre and innovative refuse facility for the local community.

Client Barking Riverside Limited

Location London, UK

Status Built


The Wilds Ecology Centre

In 2017, Jestico + Whiles successfully bid to design a unique building to act as a gateway to the proposed Barking Riverside development. A new ecology park will be created on the perimeter of the site, connecting to the foreshore and forming 29 hectares of varied ecological habitats. The brief required a design solution that transcends technical infrastructure and integrates the building into the landscape.

An extensive underground vacuum waste collection system, Envac, will be installed in the building, in lieu of traditional refuse collection methods. Used widely in Scandinavia and beyond, underground vacuum systems offer the ability to collect and compact different types of waste from thousands of homes into a single collection station via a network of pipes, eliminating bin stores from buildings and refuse vehicles from streets.

The building design draws on the post-industrial landscape of the former Power Station. The selected external material palette of weathering steel and reclaimed stone filled gabion baskets will allow the building to mature into its natural surroundings and blend with the landscape.

Drawing from its function as an ecology centre, the weathering steel-clad ‘box’ makes use of sustainable building techniques and features a combination of a glulam timber and a cross-laminated timber structure.

This timber is exposed internally, reducing the need for finishing trades, and brings warmth to the building’s interiors which will house an exhibition space and incubator offices for start-up companies researching and developing innovative ecology-based products.

The Wilds Ecology Centre
The Wilds Ecology Centre