Our Move to Shoreditch

#CreativeCommons #HolisticCommunities #UrbanContextual #ConservedCharacter #RemovingRedundancy

As part of Architecture Today’s In Practice series, Design Director Mike Jamieson talks about TateHindle’s new home in Shoreditch and the benefits a vibrant place in continual transformation brings to the practice:

Our move to Shoreditch during the pandemic has given us a new home within a creative community and the opportunity to experience the area’s continual transformation – as London’s neighbourhoods continue to adjust to life post-Covid.

Nestled between the overland rail link and surrounding warehouses, the view from the fifth-floor terrace of our studio provides glimpses of the area’s industrial past, reimagined to house flats and offices, and the busy street life below.

Shoreditch has undergone huge economic and social transformation in recent years, becoming Europe’s busiest night-time economy. Its diverse heritage offers a unique environment – one that is truly mixed-use; blending cultures and backgrounds, homes, offices, creative industries, nightlife, cuisine, galleries, hotels, and a range of shops from high-end to vintage – all just a stone’s throw from The City. While gentrification has brought affordability issues, Shoreditch’s long-standing appeal lies in its constant updating, sense of destination, and like-minded community.

For the practice, our move has provided a more comfortable and desirable studio space, easy access for our team who tend to live eastwards, and the chance to enjoy their local community for both work and play. For others, hybrid working allows them more time in their own local neighbourhoods, as small centres bounce back more strongly than big cities, with residents turning to local amenities.

This new local focus raises questions for our design work, as we prototype the homes and offices of tomorrow. Health and wellbeing, community and sustainability have long been key to our approach, but now the pandemic and the climate emergency are bringing these considerations to the fore. With the need to repurpose redundant office space and the demand for working environments that promote wellbeing, re-use, re-classification and retrofitting are paramount. As a result, priorities for clients and stakeholders are now firmly focussed on sustainability and social value, and we welcome this move towards more human-centric design.

There are also opportunities to explore how redundant space can be repurposed to accommodate a wider array of businesses including SMEs or leisure activities. Taking inspiration from Shoreditch’s adaptable structure which houses pop-ups, co-working spaces and creative hubs, vacant spaces could potentially make way for affordable spaces for start-ups, offering a catalyst for innovation in areas perhaps previously out of reach. This type of diversification is also key to creating communities around places of work – something our team values highly in our new neighbourhood.