Like the art of carnival itself, Ash Sakula’s new UK Carnival Arts Centre in downtown Luton is ‘strange, shambolic and magnificent’. It consists of two new buildings astride a large courtyard with a continuous enclosing perimeter, part brickwork, part screen, both 4.5m high. Two large gates, one gold, one stainless steel mesh, break the enclosure at either end of the courtyard, a courtyard which is transformed into a street as part of the carnival route. The larger mas camp building houses performance spaces, a state of the art workshop, teaching spaces and café. The smaller building hosts administrative offices, the national carnival archive, incubator units and a crèche. The courtyard is a both-and space: a green conversational lung, a spillover space for workshop and performance and a new street for carnival.
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