East London Open Studios

We travelled to East London in the third weekend of Open Studios. The East Hub brought together the largest concentration of architectural practices. Studios of all shapes and sizes presented their work of today and ideas for tomorrow.

Ackroyd + Associates at the heart of the Maker Mile discussed the coming of the second industrial revolution. A revolution of technology – enabling designers to take back control of the means of production. The Studio presented their use of 3D printing and automated component cutting within their practice’s work. Ackroyd + Associates demonstrated much more than technology, there was also an emphasis on the community and collaborative spirit of the Maker Mile and from those who work along it. 

13 practices grouped together for the Winkley Street Open Studios. The inevitable British summertime rainstorms didn’t dampen the spirits in the Durham Yard - Thursday evening was an architectural extravaganza. vPPR divulged to us their process behind their highly successful infill projects; Common Group Workshop spoke of their newfound community one year on from opening a Café; NORD displayed a unique representation of architectural skill and distinct aesthetics through a series of films from Unit UG03 at the Bartlett; and Motion Architecture practically helped us understand the full potential of architectural skill within development and this just to mention a few of the practices’ activities. 

SCABAL brought us a whole new dimension to board games. After competitively engaging in various household favourites, we were asked to collectively re-invent the games with a less competitive and more cooperative outcome in mind. Questioning if by excluding the individualistic “winner takes it all’ end prize, and favouring collaboration by working together would make us much more successful and happier as a group and individuals. SCABAL apply the same methodology to the current housing crisis, proposing a model whereby home ownership becomes a collective and achievable goal rather than an individual struggle. Game on. 

The Mind the Gap project, at Child Graddon Lewis, displayed the practice’s proposals to make the outer zones of London a more attractive and sustainable choice for living. The exhibition focused on two case studies, exploring new ways to densify the suburbs and regenerate communities. As visitors to the studio, we were actively involved in the on-going housing debate, helping to influence CGL’s continuing and valuable research, by informing decisions which will ultimately contribute to the integration of high quality housing design. 
The Open Studios of East London engaged us in very current and prominent discussions in dynamic and thought provoking ways. Collaboration and community were shown as definite driving forces in the practices that I visited. The next weekend of Open Studios takes us to North London, from 23rd – 26th June, the last but not least hub of activity. 

Georgie BrownComment