"The judges were fulsome in their praise of this radical retrofit and extension, describing it as a beautiful approach that is super-coherent, brimming with architectural integrity and a real sense of trying to retain the best of the building." AJ Retrofit Awards
This radical retrofit of an existing building provides exemplary new spaces for art, education, and activism; enabling a community group to achieve their long-term vision while preserving their spirit and history.
198 Contemporary Arts & Learning is a Black-led and owned visual arts organisation situated on Brixton’s old ‘Frontline’ of Railton Road. 30 years after starting as a social space for the Black community in the 1980s they won the freehold to their site. The building was important to 198’s community, but to grow and become self-sustaining they wanted more flexible, higher quality spaces.
We started working closely with the stakeholders in 2015, developing the brief and design through joint workshops and live projects. The redevelopment won planning permission and GLA funding in 2018, started on site in late 2019 after further fundraising, and opened to the public in late 2021.
198 Contemporary Arts & Learning won best Cultural and Religious Building under £5 million in the AJ Retrofit Awards 2023, which celebrate excellence in the repurposing of existing buildings and reducing the carbon footprint of construction.