The ground-breaking social housing scheme A House for Artists in Barking Town Centre is in the running for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize – the highest accolade in UK architecture.
Amongst five other buildings in the mix to be crowned the UK’s best, A House for Artists designed by Apparata Architects is an ambitious development model funded by Barking and Dagenham Council. Commissioned in partnership with Create London, with support from the GLA, it was established to bring affordable and sustainable housing for creative professionals and affirms the Council’s commitment to supporting the cultural community in the borough.
The building, delivered by the Council's regeneration arm Be First, is located in the heart of Barking and home to 14 artists and their families, providing flexible living and workspace. In return for reduced rent, the artists deliver a free programme of creative activities for the local community which launched this summer with drawing and painting classes, photography and sound workshops, knitting circles, parent and toddler groups, art clubs and more.
Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, said: “A House for Artists is the success story that reaffirms our commitment to supporting our culture sector here in Barking and Dagenham. We are so pleased that it has been nominated for the prestigious RIBA Client of the Year Award.
“Everyone who worked to bring the space to life, including the fantastic artists who live there now, will be over the moon with this news.
“Our borough is fast becoming a hotspot for creative industries, and we’re so pleased this unique model provides yet another way for the arts to thrive in our borough - and be enjoyed by everyone.”
From 14 September to 10 November, a free exhibition showcasing each project will be on display at 66 Portland Place. The exhibition, which is open to everyone, provides a glimpse of the six schemes shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2023 and an opportunity to better understand the buildings and the practices behind them.
A House for Artists more recently collected RIBA’s Client of the Year Award, and a RIBA East London Regional Award for its design.
The public programme for A House for Artists is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Rayne Foundation.