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High House Artists’ Studios

RIBA Award, 2014

High House Artists' Studios is a pioneering development of 43 purpose-built affordable artists' studios, including 4 work-live spaces, at High House Production Park in Purfleet, Essex. Working closely with Acme Studios who operate the building, and building on their extensive research into the needs of artists across the spectrum of artistic practice, the building contains studios from 15m2 to 150m2 project spaces for large-scale making.

The building is the first purpose-built studio complex in Acme's 40 year history, and the first concrete manifestation of the brief developed through evaluation of all their existing studio spaces as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Central St Martins. At a construction cost of £850/m2, the low-cost, robust quality of the building is essential to both its business plan - keeping rents down for the artists, and expressing the primacy of the work contained within. Clad in profiled metal sheet and common bricks, the design is unashamedly functional - a container for, not a representation of, creative work.

The project has been fully occupied since completion, with the work-live units - an experimental element to the project - being heavily over-subscribed.

HAT Projects' design has fully met a challenging brief and been delivered with uncompromising passion and great skill.

Jonathan Harvey, Acme Studios

Photography: Hugo Glendinning