Turner Works

Related Project:
Clarnico Quay

Turner Works

1. Often, the legwork has already been done.

Warehouses are a great starting point for thinking about how to design new spaces for makers. They are solid and (almost) indestructible. They are inherently fire-proof. They have direct access to the street or yard. And the acoustics tend to be good. We can learn a lot from them.

2. Old forms might just need new places.

As London has flourished and pressure on land has intensified, these very functional spaces are under threat. And now Clarnico Quay has given us a chance to explore these concerns in a very concrete way. The site is sandwiched between Hackney Wick and the canal on one side, and the former Olympic site on the other. New housing and offices are springing up all around, but development can’t just be about those.

3. There’s nothing better than talking to people – or, rather, listening. That’s how you work out what’s really important to them.

We visited the existing makers and artists here to see how they work and what kind of spaces they need. There were no surprises. The concrete-framed warehouses built out of brick serve them well, with large volumes being sliced and diced into low-tech, loose-fit spaces and capacious goods lifts. The external yards seemed purpose-built for their needs, too. They were perfect for deliveries, storage, and working outside by day. And at other times they became gathering and performance spaces.

4. Look out for this kind of flexibility. It’s a sure sign that you can start rethinking, adapting and re-using.


There was no need to reinvent the wheel. But is it possible to produce a denser version of the same thing, perhaps with stackable spaces, that could be squeezed back into our towns and cities? We’re still thinking hard about what’s possible. But we know we’ll always be inspired by both the humble railway arch and the converted warehouse, whatever the lay of the land.




Something to think about:

If you’ve never thought about flexibility as being on a par with space and light, now might be the time. It’s fundamental to nearly everything we do. And we’re always happy to explain just how transformational it can be.