Project Architect: Susie Hyden/ Joe Mac Mahon
M&E/Sustainability Consultant: NPS
Quantity Surveyor: NPS
Cdm Coordinator: MLM
Structural Engineer: NPS
Main Contractor: : Bolt & Heeks
Client: London Borough of Waltham Forest
Funding: London Borough of Waltham Forest and Greater London Authority
Text description provided by the architects. A high quality refurbishment of the prominent Central Parade brings a new cultural and creative enterprise hub to the heart of Walthamstow.
Gort Scott Architects has completed a refurbishment of Walthamstow Central Parade, converting it into a multidisciplinary mixed-use hub that offers 650m2 to the creative industries.
London Borough of Waltham Forest secured funding from the GLA to transform the 1960s former office building into retail and co-working spaces with meeting rooms and studio units for up to 50 independent creative businesses. There are also small ‘maker’ shops available for those who wish to pilot new products or services.
The intention is to support and promote local businesses, allowing them to collaborate and be a part of the community. Flexible event and exhibition space as well as an independent start-up bakery and café are open to the public. The social enterprise Meanwhile Space, who specialise in delivering temporary and affordable workspaces for the benefit of local communities, is running the facility.
Externally, Gort Scott, worked to respectfully upgrade and enhance the character of the existing building. Notably, the underside of the wave canopy has been painted a vibrant yellow, two new street entrances have been introduced and new signage highlights the change in use. Bicycle parking is also available.
Jay Gort, director of Gort Scott, said: “Walthamstow Central Parade provides stylish workspaces with varied facilities, enabling a range of creative industries and emerging enterprises to thrive in the area. We stripped back the linings of the outdated council one stop shop; the lowered ceilings, carpets, partitioned desks etc, to create a generous, robust hall like space. Gort Scott also developed a range of bespoke furniture for the project and everything was delivered on a tight budget. Simultaneously, we ensured that the facades of this landmark building were sensitively updated to re-establish the buildings positive contribution to the streetscape. We worked closely with graphic designers Polimekanos to develop a graphic identity for the project which was inspired by the original decorative façade tiles.”
The refurbishment aims to appeal to Walthamstow’s burgeoning creative community as part of a long-term plan by the Council to enhance business in and around the area. The degree of success of this project may, as a result, inspire similar projects in the borough.
Cllr Clare Coghill, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and High Streets said: “Waltham Forest is London’s fastest growing hotspot for culture and creativity, so it is ideal for us to be able to use this building to provide more space for local creative businesses to grow and thrive. This project goes hand in hand with our other ambitions for the regeneration of Walthamstow Town Centre, which include the new Creative Industries Zone in Blackhorse Lane, the redevelopment of St James Street and the Blackhorse Lane Housing Zone.”
Waltham Central Parade is the latest of a number of successful Gort Scott projects in Waltham Forest that span all scales and types of intervention. Previous projects include; two separate urban design frameworks for Blackhorse Lane and the town centre, the regeneration of Wood Street Indoor Market, a strategy for public realm interventions in the Blackhorse Lane area (which included the Blackhorse Lane Workshops by Assemble) and, recently, they have submitted planning for a residential scheme to the north of the town centre.