Year | 2011
Location | Wakefield, England
Client | The Art House

The client for our project wasThe Art House in Wakefield, an organisation which provides studio space for artists both with and without disabilities. There is a strong emphasis on making the facilities open to all where no artist is turned away. This meant that accessibility was one of the driving factors behind the design for the building they currently occupy, where attempts to fulfil regulatory criteria have permeated every area of the building’s design.

Although this recently completed building fulfils its purpose, there are certain elements which they feel could be improved. This lead to our involvement in the design of their new extension, where our brief was to create a concept for the organisation’s expansion into the Victorian library next door. The conceptual document we produced was intended to provide a way of conveying our client’s aspirations to the future architect, which we discovered and developed through a series of meetings.

Following our initial visit to the site, we studied the library and possible interventions we could make at three specific scales. The Small scale aimed to create ‘moments’ within the building of a domestic scale and nature, providing the opportunity for chance social interaction surrounding everyday tasks. The Medium scale looked at the internal division and quality of space, and how the existing features of the library could be adapted to retain its identity. The Large scale dealt mainly with the landscape immediately surrounding the library and how this could be used to connect the building to its urban context. Through using interventions across these scales we developed strategies that would hopefully achieve our client’s main aims of tying the refurbished building into its urban context, as well as creating a strong sense of community and identity.

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