Jan Kattein's MacEwen-shortlisted scheme enables traditional skills to be nurtured anew and harnessed to make Covid masks
Building The Tailoring Academy
Architect Jan Kattein Architects
Location Tottenham, London
Building type Manufacture/training facility
While Haringey in north London has a long history of clothing manufacture, for decades this has been in decline. The tradition is now being revived in Tottenham by The Tailoring Academy, part of a drive by social enterprise Fashion Enter to instigate more UK-based clothing production. As well as creating 50 jobs, the new training and manufacturing venture will provide 100 apprenticeships and 630 NVQs on site over the next three years.
Jan Kattein Architects worked with Haringey Council and Fashion Enter founder Jenny Holloway to realise her vision for the academy. Funded by the mayor of London, the new venture is located in a 1000m² warehouse next to the social enterprise’s already established Fashion Academy.
The challenge was to create an inspirational facility that could safely accommodate training in a nurturing atmosphere alongside the manufacturing area, which produces clothing for major high street and online brands. It was also important for the academy to have a public face and welcoming entrance.
‘We wanted to make sure it had a proper, publicly-visible presence so staff and students would feel proud coming to work,’ says Jan Kattein. However, at £214,000 the budget was extremely tight for such a large area. ‘We had to keep things really simple and think very hard about where to spend money,’ he says.
As well as upgrading services, the architect inserted a folded timber and glass screen between factory and training areas across the whole warehouse so that students could safely experience the production process. Social, digital and toilet facilities are shared between staff and students. Timber screens, fabric canopies and accent colours are used to create a warm, learning environment.
A welcoming new entrance was created out of a loading bay, with views in through a 5m by 7m shopfront. Inside, the lofty atrium houses the reception and provides a showcase for displaying tailoring work. It is adorned with a chandelier, created by the architect out of hardwood battens, brass lamp holders and large bulbs.
During the first lockdown, the Tailoring Academy was temporarily repurposed by Fashion Enter to make scrubs for the NHS.
Judges were impressed with the re-purposing of the warehouse and its impact.
‘It really targets apprenticeships; students have been affected [by Covid] more than anyone in a way, so anything that generates new training programmes, especially from poorer backgrounds, is key,’ said judge Beth Bourrelly of BDP.