For five years now, Hawkins\Brown has been involved in the transformation of the former Broadcast Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, turning it into 'Here East' – a new commercial hub for London's digital culture and creative industry. In the 'Here East Gantry' project, the latest at the building in the Hackney Wick district, 21 freestanding studios have been inserted by the architects on two levels of the 240-metre-long steel structure along the rear of Here East.
Each of the studios is made up of modular wooden panels developed on the basis of the WikiHouse concept – an open source project in which Creative Commons-licensed building plans are provided free of charge. The wooden elements were produced using a CNC milling machine and pieced together like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, forming a colourful cabinet of curiosities at the Here East building.
The studios, each of them singular in design, pay tribute to businesses once located in Hackney Wick, such as the Lesney Matchbox Toy Factory or London Cure Smoked Salmon. Local ties to London's East End are also to play a large role in future use of Here East Gantry, with 80 percent of the studios to be offered to businesses based in Hackney Wick and Fish Island.