International House, a former 11-story office block owned by Lambeth council, has had a new lease of life as one of London’s biggest affordable co-working buildings for new and growing businesses, social enterprises and charities.
The building is run by 3Space with a focus on design, creativity and innovation. 3Space are specialists in meanwhile use and interim space activation.
Tenants of the building include George Clark’s Amazing Spaces, Turner Prize winners Assemble – who are opening The Fabric Floor dedicated to textile and fashion entrepreneurship.
One floor is dedicated to community and not-for-profit organisations, including the Brixton Bugle who have the space rent free.
To be recognised as a Living Wage Building, the building manager must include a clause within its tenancy agreement stating that any businesses located in the building are obliged to pay at least the Living Wage to their employees and contractors.
According to the council, International House is the first Living Wage Building to meet the criteria as part of the Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage Places scheme.
Cllr Matthew Bennett, cabinet member for planning, investment and new homes, said: “This is now one of London’s biggest affordable workspaces, and being named as the UK’s first Living Wage Building really cements the significance of this project.
“We have a really ambitious programme of delivering more affordable workspace and creating more high-quality jobs for local people. We hope this will be the first of many accredited Living Wage Buildings in the borough.”
Until early 2018 International House was used by around 600 council staff who mainly worked in Lambeth council’s children and young people’s services.
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to see International House become the country’s first Living Wage Building. We know the huge impact that supportive local authorities like Lambeth can have in driving Living Wage take-up. Across the UK many councils are now not only accrediting as Living Wage employers but also using their convening power to help spread Living Wage accreditation through local businesses and supply chains.”
Resi.co.uk, who occupy the fourth floor of International House, work to help people improve their homes by offering architectural and design support.
Alex Depledge, 38, the chief executive officer of resi.co.uk said: “We pay all 56 of our staff the London Living Wage as a minimum. Paying the rate is a core principle for this company, so it’s great to be in a building where everyone shares that.
“We have lots of architects employed here, 22 so far, and are hiring ten more. Being in this building has been a real plus as it is helping us attract potential employees who have heard about what’s going on here, as well as the quality of the space.
“I live locally, in Brixton, and feel that working locally improves your wellbeing. That was part of the motivation for coming to this building. We have been able to put our own stamp on the space and enjoy working with the community and not-for-profit organisations who are also here.”
Lambeth now has six affordable workspaces in the borough. Three are in Brixton: Tripod, located in Lambeth Town Hall, Pop Brixton, and International House.
The other three are in the north of the Borough: Granby Space: a temporary space in Lower Marsh, Waterloo; Build Studios, a co-working space, five minutes’ walk from Waterloo station; and Health Foundry opposite St Thomas’ Hospital in Waterloo, which provides a supportive environment for digital health start-ups.
LJ Works, currently being built on council-owned land, will include low-cost co-working kitchen facilities, along with studios, workshops and shared textile workspaces. It will also continue to be home to the Loughborough Farm food growing project.