R-Urban London






The White Building
Unit 7, Queens Yard
White Post Lane
E9 5EN

Wick Session #13 will host a conversation about self-build in east London. Hackney Wick & Fish Island has a well-established culture of self-build and DIY, driven largely by creative communities that have re-homed themselves here and adopted cheap, under-used buildings and open spaces as their workplaces and playgrounds. Although both highly productive and resourceful, this culture is also under threat - either through vicarious speculation on rising land and property values, or the continuing limbo of uncertainty surrounding stalled development proposals and changing planning legislation. What role could self-build play in the future of Hackney Wick & Fish Island? Who are self-builders, and what does it mean to 'self-build' here, in this place?

The idea of helping people to provide for themselves is key to the contemporary political context of Localism and the Big Society. Across the country, communities are being encouraged to do more for themselves, to take on more responsibility for the provision of local services and to participate in local planning and decision making. Support is being made available for groups that wish to take advantage of these opportunities, but the waters remain relatively untested. Concepts like the Community Right To Build, and Neighbourhood Planning suggest that 'self-build' should play a bigger role and the term has received increasing attention in recent months and years.

Calum Green will talk about the East London Community Land Trust, followed by short presentations by Gus Zogolovitch, who will talk about Custom Build Developer Solidspace's approach to self-build and his role with the National Self Build Association, and Maximilian Goeschen, who will talk about Gaia Gallery's project to self-build a floating permaculture barge on London's waterways using entirely natural or reclaimed materials. Sam Brown will then present the outcomes of the Motivating Collective Custom Build research project, led jointly by the University of Sheffield School of Architecture, Ash Sakula Architects and Design for Homes. Robin Turner will speak about the work of Diploma Unit 5 at the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, which has been exploring innovative new models of self-build - and Custom Build - in east London, and is now working as a designer for David Kohn Architects.