Charities Jamie’s Farm and Oasis Hub Waterloo were granted a lease for the 1700 sqm site in 2014. Feilden Fowles has been engaged from the outset, masterplanning the whole site, from the design of animal pens and sheltered outdoor classroom, to their new studio on a site which was offered in exchange for their design services.
The sliver of land is owned by Guy’s and St Thomas’, who have negotiated the lease. It was originally marshland and later used for farming in the 18th century, and it will now return to its earlier form in a unique vision of a community farm in the heart of London,
satisfying the requirements of both charities and numerous local stakeholders. The origins of Lambeth come from Lambehitha, meaning ‘landing place for lambs’. This iteration - a meanwhile use - will remain until St Thomas’ Hospital redevelops the site as part of a masterplan to expand the hospital facilities.
The rectangular infill site, bordered by Royal Street and Carlisle Lane, SE1, is bookended on the north end by Feilden Fowles’ studio, and the farm entrance and welcome area at the south. The positioning of the studio is key: pushed against the northern boundary in order to define a generous, south-facing shared courtyard garden.
The garden has been designed by local practice Dan Pearson Studio, with plants generously supplied by the Garden Bridge Trust. It is sheltered by an historic brick wall, a remnant of the site’s rich history, once home to a row of Victorian terraces that were
heavily bombed during the war. It will provide a break-out space and an outdoor workshop for the studio, doubling up as an intimate, quiet learning space for students visiting the farm.
The Douglas Fir timber frame structure clad with corrugated Onduline sheets, can be dismantled and re-erected when the lease comes to an end. The materiality and approach are redolent of agricultural building forms. To the north the timber frame projects at high level to articulate large lights which run the full length of the space, referencing traditional artist studios and providing generous diffuse light and cross ventilation. The long south elevation is articulated by steel Tcolumns and full-height glazing shaded by the overhanging roof. The 1830mm column grid and 2440mm datum running around the ply-lined interior, demonstrates how proportions have been carefully calibrated to minimise cuts and waste.
In June 2015 the first phase, the construction of the animal pens, was inaugurated by the Duchess of Cornwall, a patron of Jamie’s Farm. The completion of the studio in spring 2017 marked the second phase of the development. A final phase, an education barn at the eastern end of the site, is currently nearing completion. Acting as a gateway to the whole site, this timber-framed structure will house the main educational spaces on the farm, including a classroom for 30 children and spaces for quieter small group or one-to-one meetings. The space will also be available for private hire, generating revenue to support the valuable activities and facilities offered on the farm, as well as providing an opportunity to reach a broader demographic in the neighbourhood and beyond.
Photography: David Grandorge