The Artists Workshop is an exciting new community art project and surprisingly sustainable building in the Highgate Conservation Area. It will be home to artists and craftspeople working with a mixture of media such as woodwork, ceramics, painting and printmaking, along with inclusive workshops and events.
Developing in the Highgate Conservation Area
Getting this unique artists’ workshop off the ground on a contentious site in the Highgate conservation area was no mean feat. Genuine, open and ongoing stakeholder management was essential. We worked with the local community – including the Highgate Society and Highgate Neighbourhood Forum – to create a sensitive concept design using innovative, sustainable building materials. Thanks to the rigorous environmental and socially responsible strategy, we gained planning approval in summer 2020.
Designing a sustainable community building
This Artists Workshop proposal was part of a wider scheme for the site, sitting alongside other art, making and growing studios and the diverse eco-habitat of Omved Gardens. The setting was perfect for our client’s work, exploring the relationship between people, nature and food.
Our client was heavily involved in promoting a site-wide sustainability strategy for this area. So biophilia – the innate human instinct to connect with the beauty of nature – and regenerative design principles were a part of our design concept. This meant using natural, healthy materials and designing sensitively around the surrounding landscape, with the planet in mind.
Ethical material choices and design to net-zero
Taking Highgate Bowl as inspiration, the concept design references boulders, land art and a rammed earth feature wall. It makes heavy use of sustainable building materials, alongside ethical material choices, such as using only local sourced timbers and reclaimed slate.
The project uses low embodied carbon calculations, design to net zero standards, and meets Riba 2030 targets to fight climate change. We helped achieve this by using high-performance insulation, passive stack ventilation, solar shading and building orientation, energy and water re-use.
Where art and creativity meet wellbeing
This innovative, sustainable community building provides an invaluable creative space for people who might not usually have access to such a facility. The use of natural materials and lush, green surroundings inspire creativity and instil wellbeing.
It will be home to a wide variety of artists and craftspeople, accommodating a mixture of media, such as woodwork, ceramics, painting and printmaking. The local community and wider public will join workshops and hands-on courses as part of the seasonal programme.
Planning a sustainable community building project? Get in touch to discuss your ideas