OMI’s Mustard Tree helps build skills and self confidence from a high quality space in a former industrial unit
Mustard Tree is dedicated to helping people in Greater Manchester in poverty or homelessness by enabling them to gain skills and self-confidence. On a tight budget of roughly £625/m2, OMI Architects has opened up a rundown utilitarian 1950s warehouse building that was gifted to the charity to bring in natural light and create a modern, comfortable environment to visit and work, with this year’s judges agreeing that the result aptly expresses the building’s use and programmes.
By its very nature, the project required considerable engagement in the design process with a range of user groups and the local community. The refurbished building is a bright and comfortable environment. A newly created double height foyer is accessed from a large, welcoming entrance, giving access to the shop, café and meeting rooms on the ground floor, and exhibition and performance space, breakout space, training rooms and a commercial scale kitchen above. This has the effect of offering an often-neglected group a high-quality space that can build confidence.
Since completion the building has significantly enlarged the range and scale of its services. Distribution of emergency food parcels has increased by 138%, people fed in the canteen has risen by 13%, people to whom furniture has been donated has gone up by 235%, and people attending classes or activities has increased by 43%.