'It plugs into an existing community with a purpose'
FC Designer Workspace, Finsbury Park, London
Studio Partington for Fashion-Enter Limited
Contract cost £1,385,000
Studio Partington is working on a multi-phase masterplan on the Andover Estate, Islington. In judge Kathy MacEwen’s words, this is ‘a really troubled place’ so it scored highly for its commitment to both providing opportunities and improving the public realm: ‘It sits within a community, it brings in employment... in terms of changing things in a place, it does do something good.’
Disused garages have been converted into a workspace for social enterprise Fashion-Enter, which supports local residents and businesses in the fashion and garment making industry. There are affordable-rent studios, courses, hireable sewing machines, co-working desks and selling opportunities.
Individual studios set round a communal workspace, exhibition space and entrance maximise natural daylight and ventilation. A new secure entrance and lift access lead to residential units above. The workspace activates the Durham Road street frontage with full height glazing, an accessible main entrance and signage, which particularly impressed judges Takeshi Hayatsu and Isabelle Priest, who called the street’s reactivation ‘crucial. It plugs into an existing community with a purpose. It may not stand out architecturally [but] it is doing it quietly well.’
The design team collaborated with Fashion-Enter and client Islington Council from early feasibility stage. The affordable workspace was co-funded by the council and the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, which seeks to make London fairer and more inclusive by strengthening civic networks at local level. The FC Designer Workspace nurtures local talent, hoping to promote new jobs and more sustainable futures for residents. Says client Jenny Holloway: ‘The aim is to bring a circular economy to the borough of Islington, allowing local entrepreneurs to maximise their potential and grow further with space to sell their product. The FC Designer Workspace at Andover Estate really is the beating heart of collaboration.’
See more on MacEwen shortlisted projects and architecture for the common good here
End user Fashion-Enter
Client Islington Council
Architect Studio Partington
Civil and structural engineering Calfordseaden
Building services engineering Ingleton Wood
Main contractor Geoffrey Osborne