Celebrating the art of making and manufacturing

PlaceShakers launched the MakerShed design competition for architecture and design students to create a small, simple structure to house a making activity.

Hawkins\Brown assembled a team of emerging designers to design, build and project manage the MakerShed project. The team explored themes from the social and historical context of Blackburn and this informed their design. The form of the structure and its apertures reference the Old Market Hall and Clock Tower that once stood in the heart of Blackburn where makers and stall holders thrived in the busy market square.

The structure utilises contemporary modes of digital fabrication, including CNC routing and vinyl laser cutting. At the same time, MakerShed is intended to celebrate the craftwork, analogue and tactile processes of making. As an adaptive and flexible space, MakerShed adjusts to meet the needs of its user.


components of plywood and 12 hinges in total

“My proudest moment was the design becoming reality: from 3D modelling and creating a scale model in the studio, to constructing our design on site and observing how the makers and festival-goers used the space.”

Laura Keay Project Lead

The MakerShed was designed to be home to Joshua Beaty and Phoebe Kime. These textile artists, who specialise in creative knitting and crochet, are both recent graduates from Central Saint Martins College, London. The MakerShed gave them a space to demonstrate their rich craft during The National Festival of Making. Through the work of Joshua and Phoebe, the temporary installation inspired the joy of making by engaging with all ages and backgrounds.

How many mallets does it take to make a MakerShed?


The interior layout is formed from the door components that pop out of the front façade to form a work table as well as a canvas for drawing. The flexibility of the space gives the makers the freedom to demonstrate their practice, exhibit their work or involve the public in the making process.


standardised components
are replicated to create the kit of parts for the MakerShed.

The MakerShed has now been dismantled and will be moving to a new community garden in Roe Lee, Blackburn.


of Blackburn’s population
work in making and manufacturing.

Project Summary

Project Team

James Latham
Graham and Brown
Window Films 2000
Lucite International

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