Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest's town hall was dubbed by some locals as Buckingham Palace. Others called it the Nazi Headquarters. Either way, this stripped classical nineteen thirties institution struck them as aloof, remote, stuck behind railings and inaccessible to ordinary people.

Leading a team of consultants, Ash Sakula developed a master-plan for the future of Waltham Forest’s Town HallCampus. The brief, developed in co-creation sessions with future users, was to bring all council functions onto one site, identifying relevant new uses for the campus, incorporating new residential development, and making the campus more open and welcoming to the people it served. 

In an approach that might be described as place-making rather than master-planning, we identified creative opportunities for transforming land that was currently under-utilised, such as car parks, empty lawns and a playing field.

We needed to attract new users. For example, we converted the former magistrates' court with a low-cost conversion into co-working space. 

New housing finances the campus re-development and the housing proposed included custom- and self-build housing that was modelled on half-houses, a typology of stacked duplexes that is distinctive to the local area.  

Collaborators: Montagu Evans, PT Projects, Urban Initiatives, Urban Movement

Accommodation: 10,000 sqm council offices, 250 homes, 4,000 sqm co-working, plus performance venue, rehearsal space, café and 350 parking spaces