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CHANCE15 – The Carpenters and Highstreet Agency For Negotiating Change in E15

Part 2 Project 2012
Marianne Howard
University of Sheffield Sheffield UK
CHANCE 15 – The Carpenter’s and Highstreet Agency for Negotiating Change in E15, is situated in the context of Stratford, London, following the Olympic Games 2012. It is a propositional attempt to tackle the conditions of social and economic inequality and injustice that the top-down regeneration masterplan for the area imposes on its current residents, particularly those of the Carpenter’s Estate adjacent to the Olympic Park, which is under threat of demolition.

In response to the studio’s theme of self-organisation, I explore the possibility for the subversion of patterns of gentrification, to discover the potential for creative people, in association with neighbouring existing residents, to re-appropriate commercialised space in the city.

The Agency, CHANCE15, is formed based on self-organised principles, bringing together and providing facilities for a number of local stakeholders over four key interlinking and overlapping programmatic areas. The Agency is instigated by architects operating as a workspace co-operative, who have a curatorial and mediatory role within the agency.

The proposal has developed spatially into a building which brings these people together, providing facilities for displaced community groups and local creative groups, along with artists from the nearby creative nucleus of Hackney Wick. New public spaces are created in the form of the Carpenters Community Kitchen and Garden and Assembly. Collectively, this accommodation forms the core building, allowing the local community to regain some control over the spatial production of their local environment, through the pooling of interests and skills and sharing of spaces and facilities.

The agency occupy and transform the empty Rex Theatre, a prominent building on High Street - the stretch of road between Bow and Stratford Town Centre which has fallen victim to a glut of speculative high-rise development and empty street-level spaces. A new structural insertion forming the core of the building introduces the new programme to the existing structure, and a multi-functional unifying skin envelopes both, adding a new layer to the building’s history. In this way, the Agency building offers the beginning of an alternative to Stratford’s current regeneration, and initiates a new way to occupy and enliven disused space along High Street.

Marianne Howard

Tutor(s)

2012
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