Switchboard Studios

A former Council call centre in Waltham Forest has been re-made into a succession of bright, airy studio spaces.

Blackhorse Road is slowly but surely gaining a reputation for its creative young businesses, fuelled by innovative workspace provision like the Blackhorse Workshop. Just a stone’s throw from the newly opened Walthamstow Wetlands, Switchboard Studios is the next step for this burgeoning scene, providing ample, generously daylit studios targeted at cleaner businesses that need their own space.

JKA were first commissioned in 2016 by Waltham Forest to prepare a grant application to the Mayor of London. The submission lead to the award of a £1.1m capital grant for a suite of workspace projects in the borough. When a previous operator dropped out, High St. Works (JKA and Meanwhile Space’s joint venture) were commissioned to design, deliver and operate the building. Innovative design, basic sustainable materials and simple construction methods have transformed the building with a capital spent of only £380/sqm including roof repairs, façade restoration and external works.

Peeling back the layers of successive fit-outs revealed original terrazzo floors and bathrooms and arcane telecommunication equipment. The existing building was stripped back to its concrete frame before the insertion of minimal new timber partitions following its regular modernist grid. Generous glazing to these new walls between the studios and corridors allow sunlight to stream in from the wide windows deep into the floorplate.

The original entrance position has been reinstated to welcome visitors into an open plan ground floor café. Studios are arranged along the west of the ground floor and throughout the first floor. Outside, a grove of palm trees, the glow of red neon and a painted patio encourage activity to spill out into a sociable forecourt.

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