Plans for an innovative affordable housing scheme for artists, backed by Grayson Perry, have been given the green light in east London.
The £3.5 million development in Barking town centre will comprise 12 flats offered at huge discounts to creatives who promise to work with the local community.
Residents – a mix of recent graduates and older artists with families – will be expected to pay just 65 per cent of the market rent.
In return, they will promote arts through arts groups, film screenings and local meetings held in the building’s new community art centre.
Turner Prize winner Perry is on a panel of judges deciding who gets to live and work in the new space on Linton Road.
The project is named A House for Artists in response to the impact the housing crisis is having on artists in the capital.
Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, which approved the project, described it as a “major step” towards the goal of making “Barking, and not Berlin, the place in Europe for artists to set up home”.
The five storey red-brick block with a striking irregular roof was designed by architects Apparata for arts organisation Create London, who aim to “remove barriers” that hinder engagement with arts in the capital.
“With councils struggling to build and manage existing community spaces and artists finding it increasingly hard to remain in London, we see A House for Artists as a model that could be replicated in other London boroughs,” a statement from Create London read.
The two-bedroom apartments have been designed in the warehouse style many artists favour.
Each apartment can connect to its neighbour if desired, while communal outdoor dining and workspaces encourage the sharing of childcare and co-hosting of events.
The council’s regeneration company, Be First, will help bring the plans to life, with work set to begin in a few months.
The lucky artists should be able to move in by November 2019.
Perry described A House for Artists as “a golden opportunity” for creatives wanting to base themselves in London but struggling to afford the high living costs.
“With the right artists working in a real place with real people, who knows where it will go?” he said. “It’s a new artistic model.”
Resident artists will be selected through a UK-wide open call and interview this summer