The Dalston Mill

Key Facts:

Project summary: As part of the Barbican Art Gallery ‘Radical Nature Exhibition’, architecture collective EXYZT created a 16 metre fully functioning Mill on a disused railway line. The installation included a 20m long wheat field and the windmill produced enough electricity to grind wheat to make flour and bake bread. The space hosted different activities and welcomed various associations to use the space. The area used for the Mill is now the house of the current Eastern Curve Community Garden.

Location: Dalston Junction , LB Hackney, London

Programme: Bar, events and workshops.

Initiator: Barbican Art gallery

Project Duration: 28 days (July 2009)

Lead in Time: 5 months (1.5 years research done by muf)

Site Area: 25m2 project build site

Client Team: Barbican Art Gallery

Project Team: Architecture collective EXYZT, muf architecture/art, J&L gibbons landscape architects

Funding Sources: Barbican Art Gallery, Arts Council England, RSA, London Borough of Hackney.

Funding Type: Cash and in-kind

Project Costs (Build): £35,000

Project Costs (Operation): £65,000

Profitability/Loss: N/A

Permissions / Permits: Temporary event notice, Not necessary to go through planning permissions.

Project Evaluation:

Site Details & Ownership:
Half of the site is owned by LB of Hackney and the other half is owned by Kingsland Shopping Centre. Site was located on a disused railway line by Dalston Junction.

Project Reach / Visitors / Target Audience:
The Dalston Mill attracted 14,500 visitors over the few weeks it was installed; 75% of these visitors were from Hackney and 33% were from the immediate area.

Problems Encountered / Overcome:
Difficulties encountered during the negotiation of the use of the site between the Kingsland Shopping Centre, LB of Hackney and the car park owners next to the site.

Many differences raised between different neighbours’ associations about the immediate use of the site and its future.

Feedback from users / staff:

What next?
Shortly after the Dalston Mill ended LB of Hackney started the works for what was going to be the Eastern Dalston Curve Garden, a community run garden located on the same site.

The garden was fully funded by LB Hackney for the first two years and now it is run by a local steering group, which is planing to sustain the garden by opening a small cafe and by other donations.

The future of the garden its uncertain because of land lease arrangements but a strong community around the garden has been created to secure the garden remains open to the public.

Complementary Programmes:
A programme of events was presented by artists and local arts organisations such as Gahu Dramatic Arts, Arcola Theatre and Artburst. The addition of a small bar encouraged people to spend time on this site.

Project Website / Further Info: