Left: High House Artists' Studios in Thurrock. Photo: Hugo Glendinning (2014). Right: Artist Everton Wright at work in his studio at High House Artists' Studios. Photo: Hugo Glendinning (2014)
High House Artists’ Studios was selected as one of 10 winners of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) East Regional Awards at an awards celebration at Downing College, Cambridge on Thursday 10 April. Architects HAT Projects also won Emerging Architect of the Year and High House Production Park won Client of the Year for its role in development of the artists’ studios. The scheme will now be put forward to the RIBA National Awards in June.
The £1.8m new-build complex of 43 affordable studios and work/live units at High House Production Park in Thurrock opened in July 2013 and was developed by HAT Projects in close collaboration with operator Acme Studios. The design drew the aesthetic of the anonymous industrial buildings traditionally occupied by artists and built on Acme’s extensive research into the needs of artists. The aim was to make the spaces as functional and flexible as possible rather than making a self-consciously ‘creative’ building.
The project was funded by High House Production Park Ltd and Art Council England’s capital fund and was driven by the need for affordable space in the area. The RIBA judges were impressed by the “elegantly rational composition” of the building and the “extraordinarily economical scheme” which delivers high-quality workspace to rent from as little as £20 a week.
Acme Studios’ Chief Executive Jonathan Harvey said, “A great deal of passion and attention to detail was put into the development of High House Artists’ Studios. It was a challenge to create a high-quality, flexible building that was suitable for a wide range of fine artist practice and at the same time remain affordable to artists. It is a huge credit to HAT Projects that this was achieved with significant architectural merit which has been rightly recognised by the judges.”