By Owen Pinnell
A team of architects, guerrilla gardeners, cooks and food producers are set to transform an empty space into a “self-sustaining community” in the heart of Brixton.
The grow:Brixton team won a competition to turn the 4,000 sq. metre site of a former ice rink on Pope’s Road into a “green oasis” for local people.
The space will feature a performance area, makerspace and kitchen and will offer apprenticeships and mentoring for young people to learn new skills and develop their talents.
Mak Gilchrist, of Edible Bus Stop and grow:Brixton, told the Blog: “We hope to give opportunities for anyone who could really do with being given a break.
“Anyone who’s involved – artists, creators, and makers – will be asked to give something back to the community if they take a space.
“This is about making a real change that could be inspirational around the country – it’s grow:Brixton at the moment, but it might one day be grow:Nottingham or somewhere else.”
Teams, including apprentices, will fit out former shipping containers create a variety of rentable space for small businesses, studios, and workshops.
Special plastic tunnels will be used for community gardens around a central kitchen and eating area, which will serve locally-sourced food including “plant to plate” produce from grow:Brixton itself.
Mak Gilchrist said: “We see our gardens as ‘Propaganda Beds’ to inspire people to take the idea of gardening home with them – they are design-led and feature quirky, playful ways of growing.”
grow:Brixton, made up of Lambeth-based Carl Turner Architects, The Edible Bus Stop, Canteen and Engineers Structure Workshop, saw off tough competition from 5 other entrants, including Brixton Toolbox.
Tom Bridgman, programme manager of Future Brixton, said: “It will help inform our long term plan for the area and be a testbed for ideas which could take root in Brixton.
“For example, people may particularly like the affordable studio space or food growing element.
“After the two years are up, that won’t be the end – we’ll have ideas which can be used all across Brixton and a network of people interested in the area.”
The competition was run by Lambeth Council and Market Traders’ Foundation and will redevelop the space for two years while the Future Brixton plan is completed.
Meanwhile is a charitable foundation which partners with landowners to redevelop empty shops and spaces on a temporary basis.
To find out more about grow:Brixton, visit their Facebook page.