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A New Home for Artists

Published: 06/01/2022 By Allan Fuller

There is a new home for Artists in East London.

The tenants at A House for Artists, whose ages range from the twenties to seventies, were selected by a panel that included artist Grayson Perry and will pay 65 per cent of market rent. In exchange for the lower rent, they will contribute to a community-oriented arts programme that will be run on the ground floor of the building.

Arts charity Create, which commissioned the project, will work with the tenants for the first two years of the public community programme, after which the resident group will be self-organised. London-based architecture studio Apparata designed a  community-oriented housing development for artists with a playful design and a facade punctured by geometrically-shaped openings.

The five-storey concrete structure contains 12 apartments, as well as artist studio workspaces, a community space and a shared working yard that can be opened to the public. Its design, which is  described as "playful," is comprised of a collection of stacked shapes, volumes and openings that are connected by terraces. A two-storey triangular volume across the upper levels of the building adds variation to the facade, while circular windows and openings similarly contribute to the design.

Twelve artists were selected from an open call to live in the building. It aims to provide London with a replicable model for affordable housing.  A House for Artists' public and domestic areas are clearly defined, with the ground floor boasting floor-to-ceiling windows that aim to attract passers-by. Meanwhile, apartments on the upper levels are set back behind balconies and terraces that provide its residents with privacy. Each floor can house up to three apartments and was designed to give residents the opportunity to freely change and adapt the floor plan over time.

The apartments are void of the hallways typically found in traditional housing models. Instead, they have an open-plan arrangement, with bedrooms lined across the south-eastern edge of the apartment and living areas running parallel across the north-western edge.