Cricklewood, in north-west London, is a community on the borders of three boroughs, and thus tends to be civically ignored: it has no public space, no town hall, no library, not even a bench.
In response to a site-activation brief as part of a wider project, Spacemakers proposed Cricklewood Town Square: a mobile public space, which could roam across the area, reclaiming forgotten patches of land, and transforming them with a programme of events into civic space for everyone to use.
We commissioned Kieren Jones to design a town hall on wheels, which ranged across Cricklewood for a month, occupying such unlikely spaces as a grass bank next to B&Q, an empty pavement outside the Bingo Hall, and the roof of a car-park. At each site, a programme of events activated the space, based on William H. Whyte’s seminal film 'The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces'.
In effect, the project was a bicycle-powered Trojan Horse, aiming to set a precedent: to demonstrate to a neglected community how useful public space can be, and how vital it is in forming that community in the first place.
Cricklewood Town Square ran in September 2013. It was 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.
We create radical, bottom-up regeneration projects, which aim to get inside the machinery of urban regeneration, and use it for good instead of evil.
We specialise in reactivating dead buildings and dead spaces, harnessing unused potential in a community, and creating projects that address the economic and social issues that are causing the problem in the first place.
We work with local authorities, private developers, architects and community groups. Our work has produced new cultural infrastructure and interventions across the country, and been featured across the national press.
Spacemakers is led by Matt Weston and Tom James, and was founded by Dougald Hine. We're based in Brighton, London and Stockholm.
Along with our project work, we have a strong history of consultancy.
We’ve been part of the Greater London Authority’s Special Assistance Team since its inception in 2011. During this time, we’ve worked with London boroughs on projects as diverse as public space, workspaces, local economics and identities. We’ve also worked nationally, advising on market squares in Basingstoke and university campuses in the midlands. And we’re part of NESTA’s New Radicals, a network of radical organisations changing Britain for the better.
We’re often brought in early on, to work out what the right strategy for a project is long term. We use the experience we’ve gained from our own projects to advise others on how best to bring their buildings, spaces and communities back to life. We’re honest, we give critique and we have ideas.
We do feasibility, problem solving and ideas generation, from a single day to an entire year. If you have a project that could do with some new thinking, please get in touch.