Visualisation of High House Artists' Studios. Image: HAT Projects (2012)
A pioneering project to create permanent affordable artists’ studios in the Thames Gateway beyond east London has now been given the go-ahead. The studios are the next phase in the development of High House Production Park (HHPP) in Purfleet, Essex, a centre of excellence for the creative industries and already home to the Royal Opera House Production Workshop and the National Skills Academy backstage training centre (opening mid-2012).
Planning permission has been secured for the studios and Arts Council England recently announced the inclusion of the project in Stage One of its new capital programme. The £2.4 million scheme is a partnership between High House Production Park Ltd, who will own the building, and Acme Studios, who will run the studios. The three-storey standalone building, sited next to the ROH workshop, will consist of 44 studios, including four work/live units. Subject to Arts Council Stage Two approval, work will commence in August, with the studios due to open in April 2013, providing much-needed space for artists in the area. The architects are HAT Projects who designed the newly-opened Jerwood Gallery in Hastings.
Although Acme has unmatched experience of developing affordable studios for artists, design briefs and specifications have been based on positive anecdotal feedback rather than detailed research into artists’ requirements. This new project has benefited from a ground-breaking two-year government-funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Acme and Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design. The KTP has enabled new and extensive research into contemporary artists’ studio practice, including in-depth interviews, to feed into the designs and specifications. The high-quality studios have been designed with great care to ensure not only that artists’ practical needs are met but that the building itself will be an inspiring place to work and visit, reinforcing the professional status of its artist tenants.
The target rent is £8.50 per square foot per year (£91 m2 per year) which is considerably lower than the current average for artists’ studios in London.
For more information about the studios, please visit www.acme.org.uk/studios/highhouse