The Gantry at Here East has been built using innovative digital design and construction tools, housed in a truly unusual structure.
The structure is a London Olympic legacy product - an heroically scaled, 240 metre long steel frame previously containing ventilation equipment for the Broadcast Centre studios behind. It was originally slated for removal following the Games. Rather than demolish this striking construction, we saw potential in its ultra-rational grid and opportunities to insert objects onto its enormous decks. The first set of these objects is now complete. Twenty-one individual artist studios in a chequerboard pattern plug into walkways running down the Gantry’s central spine.
“The Trampery on the Gantry demonstrates how innovative architectural techniques can bring this unique space to life.”
Charles Armstrong Founder & CEO of The Trampery
In 2009 Hackney Wick had one of the highest densities of fine artists, designers and artisans in Europe. This isn’t just a recent phenomenon - the area has a much longer history of creativity and invention. Inspired by these communities, the challenge was to bring together a vibrant and eccentric collection of creative studios, each with a unique character. We were inspired by historic Cabinets of Curiosity, which collected seemingly unrelated artefacts that defied categorisation, and aimed to create a 21st Century version referencing the rich creative heritage of the local area around Here East.
The big idea
Over recent decades technology has enabled manufacturing to diversify away from large scale mass standardisation towards a network of small scale makers. These makers use digital tech alongside advanced manufacturing machines to rapidly prototype and customise products in a way not previously possible for small companies and individuals. Wikihouse is an open source design and construction toolkit that harnesses these changes for the building industry. It uses a standardised kit of parts but enables a high degree of customisation in size, shape, openings, cladding and plug + play equipment. With its focus on innovative technology and ability to create varied character, it was a perfect fit for the Gantry artist studios. We worked with Wikihouse to adapt the system and create bespoke, curious studios that reflect the makers, moments, inventions, and irregularities that shaped the local area.
The small detail
Anticipating the artistic activity to come, each studio design embodies ideas of local production and creative thinking. One unit explores fish scale patternation with orange and silver diamond tiles, paying homage to the famous H Forman and Son "London Cure" smoked salmon produced only 200m from the site.
Internally the timber lined studios provide a tranquil, flexible space that artists can configure for their unique craft. The new studios are a launch point for what we hope will be an endlessly evolving structure, as The Trampery overlays its creative approach to the place.