Mackintosh Studios adapts a typical mixed-use ground floor commercial space to create three artist studios. The original ten-storey building was completed in the early 2000s, but the large ground floor commercial space was never let. A group of artists acquired this empty space, attracted by its obvious qualities: the vast interior, good daylight and generous floor to ceiling heights. A complex system of temporary props supported the existing apartments overhead while concrete structural mezzanine floors were cut back to form double-height spaces. New party walls were introduced to subdivide the space,
Beyond its immediate value to the artists, the project has a prototypical quality. The loss of space for artists and designers due to gentrification is a particularly acute problem in East London. By successfully delivering artist studios within a typical commercial development, Mackintosh Studios argues that this loss is neither inevitable, nor a necessary by-product of gentrification. Instead, standard approaches to financing, procurement and construction could be used to support a much broader and more nuanced range of activities.