ROAR has converted a vacant six-storey industrial warehouse into a creative and social hub for client Purpose Group, which transforms abandoned buildings into affordable workspace.
The Archives is a meanwhile space located in the Crossrail 2 ‘safeguarding zone’, meaning it is protected from conflicting development. The client, Purpose Group, has aimed to create a diverse mix of uses with a programme that includes a café, climbing centre, workspace and performance and exhibition space for creating marketing content.
The climbing centre occupies the first floor of the disused 1960s building, while the second floor has been designated as an open-plan makers’ space with separate studios. The third and fourth floors have been divided into 36 individual studios.
Opened last year in the midst of the pandemic, the building is now nearing full occupancy with a large community of creatives including artists, designers, photographers, radio stations, chefs and a florist.
The building, constructed in the late 1960s, is a rare example of a multi-level industrial unit including six double-height storeys. The existing external brick wall with steel windows has been repaired as part of the project, with redundant services removed.
Block colours have been used internally throughout to juxtapose the roughness of the existing concrete surfaces. A monolithic, charcoal brick-faced front desk marks the entrance to the Archives contrasting with painted OSB boards.
Communal kitchens and meeting rooms are detailed with glass block walls, allowing daylight to spread to the centre of the plan while white walls and low-level gloss datums of the studio hallways reflect natural light. Dark green has been used to articulate studio entrances while ply signage aims to mimic the language of a high street.
There has been a light-touch attitude to the internal reconfiguration which respects the existing grid. In some studios, dividing walls have been demolished to combine spaces and mezzanines have been constructed. Individual studios are wrapped internally in acoustic insulation to ensure comfort.
The building’s fifth floor has been left untouched to be used by film and photographic studios.
Phase 2 is about to commence and will provide more event spaces, leisure and social opportunities for the local community. Existing building cores will be extended to provide access to a roof terrace. These vertical extrusions will be clad in polycarbonate panels and function as lanterns as part of a wider wayfinding strategy. A mural by local artist Hanna Benihoud Studio is proposed for the lower sections of the cores.