Acme, supporting artists since 1972

Housing Associations

Acme Artists Studios Limited began life in 1972 as Acme Housing Association Limited. We are still constituted as a housing association and are members of the National Housing Federation. Acme’s aim to provide affordable studios for artists who cannot afford to rent space on the open market fits closely with the aims of registered social landlords who provide affordable housing.

In the 1970s, Acme was the largest single manager of short-life houses in London, providing affordable residential and studio space for hundreds of artists. Some examples of past partnership projects between Acme and other housing associations include:

  • Circle 33 Housing Trust - short-life project, creating 19 studios.
  • Family Housing Association - successful negotiations to ensure artists in Beck Road, Hackney achieved permanent status.
  • Newlon Housing Trust - nine studios created in three houses.
  • Solon Co-operative Housing Services - partnership resulting in three work/live apartments and 14 studios in Aldgate, two apartments and eight studios in Clerkenwell, four apartments in Bethnal Green and one in Whitechapel, nine work/live units in Stepney, and the development of the Sugar House work/live programme.

Leven road, E14

Our partnership project with Swan Housing Group, at the Atelier, Leven Road, E14 was the UK’s first 100 per cent affordable mixed-use project. The residential element of the project, managed by Swan, consists of 66 houses for rent and shared ownership. The ‘commercial’ element, managed by Acme, includes 21 purpose-built artists’ studios.

This model of development guarantees the housing association the sale and 100 per cent occupancy of the commercial element from day one. It also meets the section 106 requirements to continue employment use on the site and provide community benefit. The scheme ensures that local artists can continue to work in the area, providing links to the wider community.

Harrow Road, NW10

A major housing development in Harrow Road, Kensal Green, NW10 built by Kensington Housing Trust (part of Catalyst Housing Group) includes 12 artists' studios built to Acme's own specifications. High rent levels in West London means developing affordable studios in the area has always been a challenge. The studios are 100 per cent occupied by local artists.

Warton House, E15

Acme is currently working with Genesis Housing Group to develop 24 studios in Warton House, a listed building Stratford High Street, E15. Part of a major development south of the London 2012 Olympic Park, the studios are due to open in summer 2013.

Artist Samson Kambalu in his studio at Harrow Road. Photo: Hugo Glendinning (2011)

Artist Samson Kambalu in his studio at Harrow Road. Photo: Hugo Glendinning (2011)

'Having artists' studios in the commercial part of the development is a harmonious use, something where you can see that it will make a positive contribution to the community.'

Julia Moulder, Development Director, Catalyst Housing, 2010

Exterior of Leven Road, E14. Photo: Mike Molloy (2009)

Exterior of Leven Road, E14. Photo: Mike Molloy (2009)

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National Housing Federation member | NFASP member | Supported using public funding by Arts Council England