I'm getting closer to starting my Community Artist in Residence, hopefully by the end of June. Many thanks to RBKC and the V&A Museum for working out the logistics of establishing a studio space at 7 Shalfleet Drive. This is a former council house property and will eventually become part of the new building development at More West.
Cycling around North Kensington, one can see and hear the numerous regeneration schemes. These range from luxury apartments at The Ladbroke Grove to mixed private and social housing at Wornington Green . All providing much-needed housing, although there is the perennial question of affordability and potential impacts on community. Other new builds include a leisure centre and Academy school.
As part of my background research, I'm looking at the historic pattern of housing development in the borough and the architectural quality of buildings and listed structures. This will provide a useful context for understanding the complex social process of urban renewal. I will be involving local residents and community groups in art that explores this theme. Working with St Anne's Nursery School (1908, one of the oldest in London) will be exciting. Really interested to see how their kids make panoramic drawings and convert these into a cityscape model.
In the slideshow above, there is a recent drawing of mine. This has three time references and indicates how I will be merging the past and present to signpost the future.
Top right we have the Ladbroke Estate taking shape from the 1820's-70s. This was a boom and bust period that chimes with our most recent recession. Housing is being built on the fields and privately owned plots in West London. In the sketch, we can see speculative business men, planners and architects, theodolites and topographical designs. Thomas Allason and Thomas Allom gave us the distinctive lay-out of terraces, garden squares and the majestic St Peter's church (covered in my last blog).
Top left, there are pre and post-war developments with estates and high-rises. This is mass social housing built by the London Councils and architects like Erno Goldfinger. Buildings with modern amenities that replaced so-called "slums" in the borough. More West is currently being built in relation to the pre-existing Silchester Estate and will involve the re-housing of some of the tenants on the estate into the new bloc.
Bottom left in the sketch are the various apartment blocks for More West with an inner garden and a roof-sculpture made by Nathan Coley (hand raised in photo). The new housing has been designed by architect Joanna Sutherland from Haworth Tompkins. We see her, sketched, bottom centre, as a designer of the built environment in the tradition of Allason and Allom. In the photo, Joanna is demonstrating the brick work that will be used on site. Mace are expertly managing the construction process of concrete, steel, brick, wood, plastic and glass. Peabody are a key investor in this development. My game plan is to feature all of these (materials, methods and personnel) in the various art and film projects during my six month residency.
Have we but enough time, space and imagination?