We have very close links with the Clerkenwell community, having completed a lot of projects locally – the latest being Clerkenwell Workshops for Workspace Group. And it is the idea of community that inspired the scheme.

The original site was a nunnery, part of the medieval Clerkenwell priory. A Victorian depository, built there in 1820, was converted in the early 1960s into one of London’s first workshops for small local businesses – smelters, platers, book binders and artists thrived, supporting Hatton Garden. Designers started to move in around the late 1960s – Ian Logan, Alan Jones, Peter Greenway and others. This was the first sense that Clerkenwell could become a centre for art and design.

The inspiration for the project was to keep the workshops locally focused, to nurture a range of enterprises that will continue to flourish and improve the quality of the area.The refurbishment is very simple, exposing and keeping the original Victorian fabric internally.

The courtyard will become the ‘focus’ of the community. Clerkenwell Kitchen is being rehoused next to the courtyard. All vertical access to the units will be via the new lifts and stairs through the courtyard, which will have artwork and planting.

Ken Mackay

Mackay and Partners

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