“This is such a brilliant new idea, a way of addressing a growing problem, that of affordable housing for artists in the capital”
—Grayson Perry, project ambassador
A House for Artists will offer 12 affordable, high quality residential units and studios, with a dedicated public hall and new square, and a year-round programme of activity for the local community.
Designed by young architecture office Apparata, A House for Artists presents a pilot solution to the challenges faced by councils who struggle to build and manage community spaces, and those of artists who find it increasingly hard to live and work in London; the intention is for the project to create a replicable model for sustainable community centres paired with affordable long-term housing provision.
The project responds to a broad set of public, practitioner and policy concerns including how precarity, low pay and insecure employment conditions, and disappearing access to studio and venue spaces as a result of property development, present fundamental challenges for both artistic production and public access to the arts.
Building on A House for Artists begins in 2019. We are starting our year-long programme of research and preparation for the curation of the community hall, which will commence as the artists move in.
Artists are offered a lifetime tenancy at 65% of market rent in exchange for a commitment to dedicating half a day a week to deliver a free, public event in the hall. The public programme will ensure the provision of skills and creative expertise in perpetuity for the local community, helping to remove barriers to arts engagement and foster inclusive, creative ways of using civic spaces.
The project lives strategically in policy around inclusive growth, specifically looking at increasing participation in culture the economic growth agenda; exploring the social role of the artist in the context of local state austerity; our interest in how neighbourhoods function, and how they’re being chipped away; and in participation and disparity of engagement in culture in places where artists are living and working.A House for Artists is funded by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) and the Mayor of London, and delivered by Be First (working on behalf of LBBD)