Southwark council has rejected plans to turn a Peckham multi-storey car park into 800 artists’ studios. The disused car park has been the site of Hannah Barry Gallery’s summer sculpture show Bold Tendencies and the rooftop bar Frank’s for the last eight years.
The Bold Home project – a collaboration between Bold Tendencies and Rohan Silva and Sam Aldenton of Second Home – would have provided cheap studios for artists who are increasingly struggling to find affordable workspaces in London. The proposal was supported by some of the UK’s leading cultural figures, including the directors of the Serpentine Gallery and Tate Modern.
The local council has instead opted for another proposal that includes only 50 studio spaces alongside event and pop-up retail spaces, and cafe and bar – plans put forth by Carl Turner Architects and partnering Mayfair property developers, The Collective. Their partnership, which operates under the name Pop Community Ltd, has already come under fire for Pop Brixton, a similarly-minded pop-up development of recycled shipping containers.
Southwark’s decision to opt for 50 studios instead of 800 has sparked upset among those who feel the artist community would have benefitted more from studio spaces than retail pop-ups.
Speaking to The Guardian, Tate Modern’s director Chris Deacon said, “As London is eating itself, gradually becoming another Dubai or Mumbai, initiatives such as these are increasingly becoming vital to keep London alive.
“Artists are capable of steering a city away of becoming a ghetto for purely financial gain … Yet artists need spaces for living and working to lead a meaningful life in an otherwise meaningless city.”