Photo credits: © Sana Badri 

Mountford Growing Community Hall Self-Build Project

Year 2021 - Current

This is a community-led eco self-build project aimed at redesigning and rebuilding the dilapidated Mountford Estate Community Hall. The project seeks to provide an education program that imparts new skills to local young people, especially those from working-class, Black, Asian, or ethnic minority backgrounds. Through a series of workshops that offer a learning-by-doing approach, the project will take a group of young people through the redesign and rebuild process of the community hall, in collaboration with local residents.

The project will incorporate aspects that cater to existing activities on the estate, such as gardening, through rainwater harvesting, while also creating a space for new activities. The focus on environmental sustainability will provide participants with the opportunity to learn and apply sustainable engineering skills and renewable energy technologies. This project aims to build a stronger and more cohesive community while tackling the challenges posed by the climate crisis.

The dilapidated state of the Mountford Estate Community Hall and the closure of many youth clubs have left local young people without the necessary space or resources. This project will invest in a local community asset, nurture local talent, and build back a greener, more sustainable and environmentally friendly community hall in consultation with local residents.

The project is co-led by Rose Gibbs, resident and TRA Chair of Mountford Estate, who founded the community group "Mountford Growing Community" in 2016. The program seeks to create greater social cohesion and health through various activities. The project works with local young people, apprentices and pre-apprentices from underrepresented groups in the architecture and built environment industry, in line with Hackney’s commitment to anti-racism and tackling structural inequality.

The project involves local residents who provided the impetus for the project and will continue to be involved in the writing of the project brief, the design, and construction of the building. The recruitment of professionals from underrepresented groups for the making and construction phase of the project will inspire and build confidence in the young people who participate as well as the local residents. By ensuring diversity of workshop leaders and students, the project will contribute to a more creative cultural sphere that benefits all cultural producers and consumers.

Photo credits: © Sana Badri