South Kilburn Studios

Key Facts:

Project summary: Transformation of a disused building into studio spaces. These were given to start up creative businesses, free of rent, in return for each training a local young person in their profession

Location: South Kilburn, London

Programme: Studio spaces, public programme of workshops, traineeships

Initiator: The Architecture Foundation with Practice Architecture supported by the South Kilburn Neighbourhood Trust and Brent Council

Project Duration: Launch April 2011 – currently still running

Lead in Time: 6 months

Site Area: Portacabin building

Client Team: South Kilburn Neighbourhood Trust and Brent Council

Project Team: Practice Architecture and The Architecture Foundation

Funding Sources: South Kilburn Neighbourhood Trust and currently Brent Council

Project Costs (Build): Circa £30,000

Project Costs (Operation): £53,000

Profitability/Loss: Not for profit

Permissions / Permits: Advertising consent for the light box

Local Links: Close links forged with the local job centre and youth centres. 40% of tenants from Brent and 100% of trainees from Brent.

Publicity/advertising: Posters, flyers, project website, press

Project Evaluation:

Site Details & Ownership:
The site is a disused portacabin building that formerly had been the New Deal for Community’s offices until the programme came to an end under a new government. The site was earmarked to become a healthy living centre and these plans remain though development has been stalled. The project was initially commissioned for a six month period but is currently still running and is reaching its second year. The building was run down and part of the work carried out was the renovation of both the inside and outside of the portacabin.

Project Reach / Visitors / Target Audience:
The project offers free traineeships to local young people living in the Borough of Brent. In addition the studios run weekly workshops and monthly open studios that are open to all and are targeted at both a local and London-wide audience. The tenants that take up residency at the Studios generally come from the creative industries. To become a tenant or a trainee a short application form is required.

Problems Encountered / Overcome:
The project was realised in a very tight time-frame (from inception to completion was six months with a build of around 5 weeks.) In that time tenants needed to be recruited, trainees engaged with, the building transformed and launch events and opening workshops coordinated. The project was intense and required a lot of commitment from the project teams at Practice Architecture and at The Architecture Foundation. Due to this short lead in time there were some challenges in ensuring the outreach required for local organisations and job suppliers was done to the standard required to attract trainees. This has subsequently been built upon through more local publicity which when the project was being set up would have been desirable.

Feedback from users / staff:
“Working with a trainee has been challenging at times but what has stuck us is that you become invested in that person’s future not just professionally but personally too. This makes the project extremely rewarding”  Tenant South Kilburn Studios

What next?
A publication on the Studios was launched in 2012. The project continues and has funding till March 2013. There has been a recent review of the project by strategic partners and some developments on the way the studios work will be implemented.

Complementary Programmes:
Weekly workshops, monthly open studios, space hire and South Kilburn Studios publication.

Project Website / Further Info: