Kilburn High Road is a classic London high street: packed with people, lined with cheap shops and cafes, and slowly losing its identity. Responding to a joint council brief for a pop-up shop project, Spacemakers proposed that, rather than more shops, Kilburn needed new ideas, and a place to have them.
Learning from Kilburn is the result: a tiny, experimental university, of, for and about Kilburn. Drawing on the High Road as both curriculum and campus, the university offers a series of free classes, each led by a range of artists, architects and thinkers, and each studying a different aspect of the area.
With classes including 'What does Kilburn wear?', 'Where does Kilburn live?' and 'Does Kilburn even exist?', we aim to help local people study what makes Kilburn the place it is, and to create a space for the community to imagine new futures for the area.
Learning from Kilburn opened October 2013. The project is directed by Tom Keeley, in collaboration with OK-RM and Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio, and funded by the London Boroughs of Brent and Camden. Photography by Theo Simpson.
Cricklewood, in North West London, is a community on the borders of three boroughs, and thus tends to be civically neglected: it has no public space, no town hall, no library, not even a single bench.
In response, Spacemakers created Cricklewood Town Square, a mobile public space, which could roam across the area, reclaiming forgotten patches of land, and transforming them into civic space for everyone to use.
From a disused grass space next to B&Q, to an empty pavement outside the Bingo Hall, the project demonstrated how even the most unlikely spaces can become community assets, and showed how vital public space is in forming a community in the first place.
Cricklewood Town Square ran in September 2013. It was designed in collaboration with Studio Kieren Jones, funded by the Mayor of London's Outer London Fund and LB Barnet, and was part of a wider series of projects led by Gort Scott Architects. Photography by Theo Simpson.
Do Well and Doubt Not is a fanzine for and about Tottenham, published in the aftermath of the riots of 2011.
The fanzine, distributed for free, was composed of interviews with local people, published verbatim. It aimed to give the community a voice on post-riots Tottenham: to let people celebrate their area, whilst also addressing the problems and opportunities that they see around them. Its name was taken from the discarded town motto, displayed on a coat of arms in the old town hall.
Do Well and Doubt Not was published by Spacemakers, edited by Tom Keeley, designed by Jon Cannon, and printed by Newspaper Club. It was commissioned by the Greater London Authority. Photography by Theo Simpson.
Spacemakers was formed in 2009, around a year long project to rethink a failing 1930s covered arcade in Brixton. The arcade had been going downhill for years, with twenty units sitting empty, and was slated for redevelopment: the owners planned to demolish half of it, and stick a ten-storey apartment block on top. After a successful community campaign to prevent this, Spacemakers were approached by Lambeth Council, to come up with a Plan B.
We took the keys to the empty units, and designed a project to rebuild the social life of the market, by offering three months free rent to anyone with an idea for reusing one of the spaces. In response, we received 98 proposals in one week, with people using the units for band rehearsals, galleries and meeting rooms, along with shops, cafes and proto-bars.
Together, these uses brought new life to the market, complementing the existing traders, and leading to the permanent establishment of a thriving, locally-powered economy in Brixton. By the time we finished our work in 2010, the market was fully let for the first time since 1979.
Photography by Gemma Thorpe.
We create projects, publications and interventions to help make our cities, buildings and spaces work better.
We work with local authorities, architects, funders and private developers, on a project or consultancy basis.
We believe regeneration should be useful, honest, simple and beautiful.
Spacemakers is led by Matt Weston and Tom James, and was founded by Dougald Hine. We're based in Brighton, London and Stockholm.