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David Kohn wins competition to design arts centre in Hackney Wick

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David Kohn with Exploration Architecture has won the Design for London and London Development Agency-backed competition to design a £250,000 arts centre in Hackney Wick, east London

Overlooking the Olympic Park, the ‘cultural enclave’ will occupy the White Building, a former print works, which will be revamped using a series of ‘discrete interventions’ (pictured, below).

Winner: David Kohn's proposal for the White Building in Hackney Wick, east London. Interventions concept

Winner: David Kohn’s proposal for the White Building in Hackney Wick, east London. Interventions concept

Kohn beat Gort Scott Architects, Glowacka Rennie Architects, Duggan Morris Architects and Union North to bag the project. It will open in time for the Olympics, and will boast a Muf-designed public realm.

Explaining his approach, Kohn said: ‘Trying to find a way to incorporate the broad range of issues and constraints meant the project took a more urban approach, based on infrastructure rather than form.’ Each of the project’s components will be sourced from design studios local to the Hackney Wick area.

The organisers invited 28 practices to submit proposals.

The competition was judged by:

Eleanor Fawcett - Design for London

Esther Everett - Design for London

Caroline Cameron - London Development Agency

Liza Fior - Muf

Ian Freshwater - Hackney Council

Sripriya Sudhakar - Tower Hamlets Council

Anna Harding - Space



The competition judge’s view

Eleanor Fawcett

Eleanor Fawcett

We were impressed by the quality of design responses submitted by such a range of emerging practices. David Kohn Architects’ winning submission brought new dimensions to the project with the collaboration with Exploration Architecture, their research into creative and arts spaces, and their commitment to using local businesses from Hackney Wick and Fish Island to help fabricate elements for the White Building.

  • Eleanor Fawcett is head of design for the Olympic Legacy and Lower Lea Valley at Design For London, part of the London Development Agency
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