In 2015, we joined forces with Architecture 00. Together, we enjoy collaborating in a shared environment where strategic, urban and social designers, architects, programmers and economists practice design beyond its traditional borders. 00 work with individuals, governments, corporations and communities to solve problems and anticipate change, and to design successful platforms and places. As a studio it aims to reach beyond the design of objects themselves to the social, economic and environmental systems behind them.
In January 2016, Studio Weave and 00 were appointed to deliver the Active Spaces Framework of projects for Whitechapel, to be implemented in the interim period before the delivery of long-term physical regeneration in the area.
The Framework seeks to provide the Whitechapel Delivery Team with an overarching approach to assessing a range of projects – from the physical to the programmatic - they can support in the near future, in partnership with interested local businesses, residents and organisations.
It highlights key opportunities associated with the interim period - notably for its treatment as a phase in which to build on Whitechapel’s traditional strengths, inspire residents to think aspirationally about their own role in the future of the area, and as an opportunity to develop the ability of local residents to take advantage of opportunities coming forward over the next 10-15 years - whether in the form of forthcoming development contributions or ‘meanwhile’ spaces.
In particular, the Framework recommends taking a ‘testing’ approach to projects, based on the Start-up principles of ‘deploy early and iterate’: de-risking projects by building on existing opportunities identified, testing relevance and long-term feasibility prior to committing substantial investment, and inviting new relationships and potential partnerships through the act of doing.
This document contains a longlist or ‘project bank’ of 30 distinct ideas for the area. Each project is accompanied by a brief description, indication of local opportunity, indicative scale of cost, timescale, and potential role of the Council. Some projects within the Project Bank are discrete ‘design’ projects that need to be commissioned; others focus more on developing protocols to enable future project proposals and activity to take place without a formal commission.
Fence Off: A project focused on removal of overzealous fencing across Whitechapel’s estates. A ‘first step’ project enabling a wider range of uses on Tower Hamlets open land, and building off resident feedback and building excitement. The project would see ‘walk and talks’ with residents identifying key fencing areas for removal and for residents to gather and discuss future activation, such as growing projects that these more open spaces could enable. Potentially funded via existing internal maintenance and renewal budgets.