Pop-up creative hub provides meanwhile use for Enfield shopping centre
Dallas-Pierce-Quintero's Culture Palace demonstrates the importance of arts and culture in the recovery of the high street
Culture Palace addresses the problematic question of high-street shopping malls’ future use. Credit: Luke Hayes
Building Culture Palace Location Enfield Palace Gardens, London Architect Dallas-Pierce-Quintero Building type Temporary scheme/retail/cultural
‘Shopping centres need things to happen in them that are different,’ observed judge Kathy MacEwen, regarding Culture Palace. ‘What is their function? What is their future is going to be?’
The project is a 300m2 temporary creative hub, housing a performance space, museum, bookshop, café and screening room in Enfield Palace Gardens shopping centre. It responds to Enfield Council’s strategic focus on how ‘Culture Connects’.
Architect Dallas-Pierce-Quintero (DPQ)was commissioned to develop a cultural strategy for a mixed-use scheme but the pandemic shifted the remit to include interim uses for the shopping centre so as to encourage hesitant shoppers to return. Repurposing the vacant retail space had benefits for the commercial landlords and for the local authority in need of a temporary home for its arts centre and museum, which had been requisitioned as a vaccination centre.
It is a very light touch but a fun way of testing and reinvigorating shop uses
The intervention demonstrated the importance of arts and culture in the recovery of the high street, piloting new uses in the space that were not purely commercial. Judge Robyn Poulson praised this aspect, saying: ‘It is a very light touch but a fun way of testing and reinvigorating shop uses. We have to think about how these shopping centres are going to be used in the future. There are a lot of them and we need to find uses.’
DPQ’s role went beyond the architectural, to include cultural strategy, liaison between tenants and landlord, lease brokerage and project management.
With over 7,000 visitors in the first month, and 2,500 attendees to ticketed events over 10 months, the clients consider the intervention a success. ‘The audience is diverse and ranges across all ages, helping the local community to reconnect in an uplifting environment,’ said Rebekah Polding of Enfield Cultural Services. ‘The only problem is this is a meanwhile space – we want it to last forever!’
While the concept is far from new, the judges noted that many such schemes are in areas already considered to be emerging cultural hotspots; this isn’t the case here, meaning the benefits are felt even more.