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  • Articles by Sonali

    Open House 2018: Blue House Yard (N22)


    Wood Green’s regeneration continues in surprising bursts. While the High Road remains unchanged with its mix of charity shops and pound stores, there are signs of innovative redevelopment near Wood Green Station, namely Blue House Yard (N22 7TB). I visited when it was open for viewing on Sunday 23 September as part of Open House 2018. 

    The site was a disused car park behind the Council Offices until Haringey Council commissioned Jan Kattein Architects to work alongside Meanwhile Space CIC (a social enterprise that brings vacant spaces into use) to develop the project. Our Open House guide Gabriel, from Jan Kattein, said building work on Blue House Yard was completed in June 2017.   

    Gabriel highlighted that this was a temporary project from the outset. As such, the budget was limited to £210 000, supported by the Greater London Authority. The site was earmarked for a wider redevelopment program through the controversial Haringey Redevelopment Vehicle (HDV) to commence in five years, but this is no longer certain. 

    Blue House Yard is a multi-purpose site combining a public space with workshops. The council building at the back is painted bright blue - hence the name – and is a focal point; while the interior is converted into artists’ studios. In addition, nine two-storey work sheds have been constructed where entrepreneurs/craftspeople can make and sell their wares. The current tenants include a cake decorating business, a clothing retailer and an outlet selling local craft beer. All Blue House Yard tenants pay affordable rents. 

    According to Gabriel the choice of material for the work sheds was critical to stay on-budget. Shipping containers were considered as an inexpensive and easy option. But timber work sheds were finally selected as a more organic alternative, encouraging a sense of ownership and well-being among the tenants. These were self-build to keep costs low. Prospective tenants and volunteers mucked-in. The windows for the work sheds were donated to the project. Equally, what also stands out is that the individual buildings are not bunched together too closely.

    A board games café called Cakes and Ladders, housed in a red double decker bus-cafe with seating inside and out, completes this quirky site.

    At the centre of the project is the drive to encourage a sense of community among Blue House Yard tenants and local residents. The yard is also used for public events, including an upcoming Vegan Christmas Market.

    The concept has a minimalist Scandinavian feel, and this colourful hub provides a bright contrast to the busy, urban surroundings of Wood Green.

    Blue House Yard was awarded ‘Best Regeneration Project’ at the recent Haringey Design Awards 2018.

     

    Blue House Yard  - 5 River Park Rd, Wood Green, London N22 7TB

     


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