The temporary refurbishment and improvement of a single-storey prefabricated building on Lower Marsh, London, to create a new mixed-use creative enterprise hub for Meanwhile Space CIC. The project includes a co-working space, an office for The Job Shop, and a retail unit.
The design features two distinct elements: the interior of the co-working space, and the improvements to the street façade of the building. A curved motif features throughout, drawing from the visibility of the London Eye, which can be seen from Lower Marsh in the void between the site’s adjacent buildings. The addition of a curved 3.2-metre-tall slatted timber screen on the front elevation, echoed in the painting of the building below, creates a giant red smile to Lower Marsh. The curves follow through to the interior, with a series of supergraphic green arcs painted across the OSB partitions and furniture of the co-working space.
In conjunction with the Smile, the area’s Business Improvement District (BID), appointed IF_DO to bring new life to the adjacent Granby Place. The courtyard – formerly underused and uninviting – has been transformed into a versatile, green public space that can be adapted for different uses, including providing a seating area and space for the continuation of the bustling Lower Marsh Market. The bright and lively design has been supported by The Mayor’s Air Quality Fund which has ensured that the underused space is now helping to increase biodiversity, as well as using plant species known for filtering pollutants.
The project, developed with We Are Waterloo, included a community planting day, to encourage local involvement in the redevelopment of this local resource.
“The council is delighted with the project. We were really impressed with the creative response to the brief by Meanwhile Space and IF_DO.”
— Matthew Blades, Lambeth Council.
“IF_DO has delivered a fit-for-purpose design which turns an incongruous Portakabin into an ambitious piece of architecture which incubates a mixture of local creative and digital entrepreneurs. Good design helps us to achieve maximum benefit during the Meanwhile use period, and the success of IF_DO's intervention gave us a quick transition from emptiness to a space full of activity. The space is enjoyed by both tenants and passers-by on the street, who are often spotted photographing the building.”
— Eddie Bridgeman, Director, Meanwhile Space CIC.
“The BID is delighted to have worked with IF_DO to develop a new public space for Waterloo (Granby Place). We see this as a place of temporary respite from the bustle of Lower Marsh and will be programming it with interesting events to engage the mind.”
— Ben Stephenson, Chief Executive, WeAreWaterloo.
Meanwhile Space CIC and We Are Waterloo