Our recently completed community project in Ashford has been featured in the Architects’ Journal First Look written by Rob Wilson. Take a look at the feature here and read about how we transformed a set of unused light-industrial buildings into a co-working and event space.

To celebrate the opening of the final phase of the Coachworks a Christmas Market was hosted in the Hot House by local charity Kent Food Hubs. The event provided food, drinks and gifts from Kent based suppliers who all celebrate the importance of shopping local. It was also an amazing occasion to the Hot House buzzing with activity, full of families and the festive spirit. The photos taken on the opening event are by Guy Archard.

If you are looking for a studio space, a co-working desk or an events space then please contact the team at Coachworks via the website coach-works.co.uk.

“The council has funded the design and capital costs for the construction works and through negotiation Turner Works agreed to take on the role of Design & Build contractor (the competition took the project to Stage 3 and a planning application). These negotiations also hinged around who would run this type of project as in many ways this is the most difficult aspect of a mixed-use campus; part-private, part-public, a mix of enterprise and community. In the end, we agreed that it made sense for Turner Works to set up a local company called Coach Works Ashford Ltd to take on a five-year lease and run the site in partnership with the council, which we have duly done. Thus our role has expanded from design, through construction and into a position as medium-term custodians of the site. I think we are expanding the idea of what are architects do, or, can do.

Our first tenants are moving into the workspace, we are learning lessons from past ventures and are running the bar ourselves. Our launch weekend kicked off with a light show about the history of Ashford organised by the council to coincide with a market organised by community interest company Kent Food Hubs, who is one of the first ‘anchor’ tenants to move in; it has set up a food collection business (sort of click and collect) for fresh farm produce, unpackaged, direct from local growers.

This project is not about design; it’s about creating accessible, affordable space, space for dreamers to have a go and fail if necessary, but also about coalescing a community of like-minded people around a set of shared ambitions.”

Words by Carl Turner, founding director, Turner Works. Read the full First Look article here.