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Grayson Perry to advise on new affordable housing model for artists

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Artist Grayson Perry is to advise designers on a new affordable housing scheme specifically intended for artists in Barking, east London

The scheme in Barking town centre – comprising a community arts centre, studio spaces, and 12 ‘affordable’ flats leased at 65 per cent of the local market rent – will be designed by architecture studio Apparata and designated for selected artists, who will live there in exchange for providing artistic programmes with and for local people.

Provisionally titled A House For Artists – a wordplay on FAT and Grayson Perry’s A House for Essex – it is backed by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and London mayor Sadiq Khan.

The scheme was proposed by arts agency Create London, of which Perry is an associate.  

Perry said: ’This is a golden opportunity for artists who want to work with the public. With the right artists working in a real place with real people, who knows where it will go? It’s a new artistic model.’

Perry will also help to select the resident artists, who will be chosen through an open invitation and interview by representatives of Create, Barking and Dagenham Council, the Greater London Authority and independent curators. Both international and local artists will be selected. 

Apparata director Astrid Smitham said: ‘Our approach follows on from the way in which artists and designers have long lived and worked in the city, re-using light industrial units to create adaptable homes.

’These strategies are increasingly relevant today, not only for artists, but more broadly: homes which are highly supportive of adaptation, as well as embedding a sense of home as part of a community, rather than as a purely private domain.’

The scheme is expected to complete in 2018. 

Project data

Location Barking town centre
Type of project Residential
Client London Borough of Barking and Dagenham with Create
Architect Apparata
Funding From LB Barking and Dagenham with support from the Mayor of London
Completion date Summer 2018


Typical plan of apartments with one set of connecting doors open

Source: Apparata

Typical plan of apartments with one set of connecting doors open 

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