A transformation of an unused space into a multi-functional social space, Charterhouse Road Club

Charterhouse Road Club

date 2011-13

There was neither green space nor open area for the 750 residents living in the residential area on Charterhouse Road before the intervention of Charterhouse Road Club. The aim of this project is to transform a neglected space on Charterhouse Road into a sustainable environment that can be used by the neighbourhoods. Both adults and children can thus have outside space for playing, socialising and growing vegetables.

This intervention is one of the 21 projects of the VACANT LOT programme which initiated by What if: projects, the environmental charity Groundwork London, the Southern Housing association, local residents, volunteers, the Hackney College, the Big Lottery Fund and the Local Food programme.

Charterhouse Road Club is located in-between residential buildings in Samuel Lewis Trust Estate on Charterhouse Road in Hackney, London, and its entrance is facing a road with light traffic in this residential area.

For the first stage of the project in 2012, the VACANT LOT allotment was created. After consultations with local residents, What if: projects proposed a temporary allotment with 44 plots in the courtyard adjacent to the community centre. The allotment was constructed by both skilled trainees and volunteers. A timber deck with seating was set up, aiming to create a level surface for the VACANT LOT bulk bags that was used as plant containers. During the second phase of this intervention in 2013, a new entrance screen, multi purpose games area and outside gym was constructed. This second phase was initiated by local children together with What if: projects.

In terms of the cost, seed funding provided £4.5K for the VACANT LOT, and the total budget of the whole project was £80K.

This project has achieved positive outcomes; children now have a safe playground, and residents have more activities in this communal space. The intervention has generated more social interactions for the diverse and multi-cultural residents, and created a sense of pride for this open space amongst them. In addition, this project was the winner of Housing “Transformation” Award 2013, was on the shortlist in Urban Intervention Award Berlin “Built” 2013, and was on the long list in RIBA MacEwen Award 2015.

Image © What if: project