Deptford Market Yard Ash Sakula has helped create a new market square in the heart of Deptford. The site, a derelict goods yard, is hard by Deptford railway station and formed a block to pedestrian movement between the station, Deptford High Street and the market quarter of Douglas Way.
Peabody Housing Built on a tight site in east London, these four low-cost apartments for the Peabody Trust comprise four pod-like flats that occupy a triangular site at the end of a terrace of Victorian houses.
The Hive Built in the early 1960s on the busy Finchley Road, a former post office at the corner of a parade of shops and flats has been transformed into The Hive, a youth community hub and advice facility. Ash Sakula was commissioned to collaborate closely with young people to design and deliver the project. The aim was to provide a space where local teenagers can access counselling, sexual health services, employment advice and training, as well as study, take part in activities or simply hang out.
Carnival Arts Centre Luton’s lively carnival tradition can been traced back to the fifteenth century, but it developed into its present form in the 1970s, acquiring international status in 1998. It is now the largest one-day carnival in the UK, second only to the Notting Hill Carnival. Carnival artists work at the edge of possibility, designing large moving structures that are highly complex yet light enough to wear and walk in for hours. Our building celebrates this improvisational and experimental ethic by attempting, like Carnival itself, to be "strange, shambolic and magnificent." This is an exuberant, colourful, inventive building dedicated to the performance and celebration of carnival arts.
Adnams Café, Cellar and Kitchen When Adnams brewery relocated its distribution depot out of the centre of Southwold, it freed up a significant site in the town for redevelopment. Ash Sakula won the invited competition and was appointed architect for a two-phase project to create a shop and cafe for the brewery, followed by a development of mixed-tenure housing. Our design opened up the site and re-connected it with the rest of the town, creating a convivial, sustainable mixed-use development. The completed scheme is cited by Historic England as an exemplar for the constructive conservation of a small coastal town, boosting commercial and leisure activity both within the scheme and beyond. We designed Adnams Store and Cafe to be a place of real, genuine community, that drew on the historic and social cues of the town and the historic Adnams Brewery previously on the site. It becomes a social hub for the area, knitting the new housing development into the old town seamlessly. It becomes a real market square, where neighbours gather to catch up or enjoy a coffee in the quick, brisk air of a sunny, beachy morning.
Chapter Cardiff's Chapter Arts Centre was a product of the progressive, community-minded idealism of the late 1960s which found expression in local, grass-roots initiatives like adventure playgrounds, city farms and other community development projects. Founded to serve both artists and the wider community, Chapter can count itself among such radical projects, but it is unusual; it has not only survived to the present day, but thrived, without losing touch with its founding objectives. Today, its rolling programme of over 1000 exhibitions, screenings and performances attracts more than 800,000 visitors each year, double the pre-refurbishment total.
Ash Sakula is a thought-leading architectural studio, based in central London. We specialize in working with challenging sites and complex briefs, where our fresh thinking and inventive design can most benefit our clients and those who use the places we make. Our work has won many awards and is widely published in Britain and abroad.
Tucked into an old London mews, Ash Sakula’s studio is a former stable that opens up like a box of tricks. It is a place to conjure up architecture, a place to be pioneering, agile and energetic. Surfing the before-during-and-after cycles of architecture, we toggle nimbly between new digital platforms and older disciplines of architectural craft, between static and moving images and between different scales, from zoomed-in details to the broad sweep of a city-centre masterplan.
We are not shy about our progressive, user-focussed culture - but we have an excellent record for creating profitable sustainable assets, which generate both cultural capital and financial return, for our clients.
It is rare to hear architects acknowledge or discuss their artistic side. This is something else we aren’t shy about. We play with how our projects will look by jumping into a particular medium, whether that’s a sketch or a model or an animation, and trying things out until a visual narrative emerges. It’s a bit like allowing a character to coalesce as you are writing a play. We enjoy experimenting with colours and inventing new textures. We have created unusual effects from unpromising materials. We favour the rough and the handmade over the slick or machine-manufactured and this, in our experience, strikes a chord also with the users of our buildings.
Early on, Ash Sakula put out the “Back Soon” signs and took a long sabbatical to travel the world. Our experience equipped us with a mental scrapbook of sound, light, texture, colour, materials, and a catalogue of references to different ways of eating, meeting, doing business and earning a living. We discovered so many other ways of doing things, and we often ask, "Why not here?"
We understood how architecture can encourage behaviours and ways of inhabiting public space that help build communities and foster convivial neighbourhoods. We know how to deliver successful places where people want to be, while keeping our clients happy by adding value through careful, sensitive, people-centred design.