After leaving Whitby Bird, founding partner turned developer Bryn Bird has created his first project – a glamorous waterfront live–work complex built on top of Brunel's Rotherhithe Tunnel and nestled beside the Thames
If you've been wondering what Bryn Bird has been up to since leaving structural engineer Whitby Bird & Partners four years ago, here's the answer: he has turned into a property developer and has just completed his first scheme beside the Thames at Rotherhithe, east London.

"I left to go and do something interesting," says Bird. "That turned out to be this development."

Tunnel Wharf is a £2.5m development containing 12 flats, ground-floor offices and restaurants, and underground parking.

Bird knocked down his own home, a converted dock building on the site, where he had lived for 25 years, to make way for the development. He now occupies that two-storey, zinc-clad penthouse you can see on the other page.

The windows of Bird's lounge spell out the name of the development – a reference to the huge lettering that used to adorn riverside buildings to guide ships to the correct wharf, and a favourite motif of the architect, Piers Gough of CZWG.

Built on top of Brunel's Rotherhithe Tunnel, the block uses a lightweight prefabricated frame and floor system developed by Metsec and structural engineer Alan Conisbee Associates. The river facade is fabricated of precast concrete columns and beams built directly onto the river wall.

Building services engineer was Max Fordham & Partners, QS was Davis Langdon & Everest, contractor was Ellmer Construction.