Sil­ver side up for Nick Hartwright in Royal Docks

Res­cued derelict build­ing pro­vides short-term so­lu­tion for cre­ative en­ter­prises This is not about sav­ing the build­ing. It is about the peo­ple and en­abling them to cre­ate a com­mu­nity and change the land­scape around them Nick Hartwright, Pro­jekt

The Wharf - - Wharf - Laura En­field

So­cial en­trepreneur Nick Hartwright first saw The Sil­ver Build­ing three years ago as he soared over­head on the Emi­rates Air Line. The former brew­ery stood derelict and empty, unloved but not un­usual in the Royal Docks where re­gen­er­a­tion is only now tak­ing hold in earnest.

Nick, who had been pointed to­wards the site by the Greater Lon­don Author­ity (GLA), de­cided he would be the man to put the build­ing to good use be­fore it was even­tu­ally swept away by the wider redevelopment of West Sil­ver­town.

“I looked down and saw this beau­ti­ful lump of ar­chi­tec­ture,” said the founder of prop­erty com­pany Pro­jekt, which man­ages and pro­grammes 13 build­ings across Lon­don, in­clud­ing Green Rooms – the UK’s first arts-led so­cial en­ter­prise ho­tel.

“I thought it would be a great place for us to do some­thing.”

Af­ter se­cur­ing sup­port from Sil­ver­town Homes and £1mil­lion from the Lon­don Re­gen­er­a­tion Fund and pri­vate in­vestors, Nick col­lab­o­rated with ar­chi­tec­tural stu­dio Soda to trans­form the im­pos­ing struc­ture into a space for cre­ative en­ter­prises, star­tups and lo­cal busi­nesses.

“It is ridicu­lous to not re­pur­pose and re­use ex­ist­ing build­ings over a short pe­riod of time,” said Nick.

Orig­i­nally con­structed in 1964 for the Carls­berg-Tet­ley Brew­ing com­pany, the build­ing had stood empty for 20 years and was “a com­plete mess,” said the 41-year-old who grew up in High Wy­combe and pre­vi­ously de­signed car­pets and re­stored the­atres.

“It had been squat­ted in for years and used for raves, and when they left they ripped it to pieces. All that was left was a concrete shell.”

Work started on site in De­cem­ber and has now been com­pleted with a new en­trance cre­ated for the 50,000sq ft build­ing on Dock Road, along with 32 stu­dios of var­i­ous sizes in the main build­ing, a cafe/ bar and two spa­cious ex­hi­bi­tion and events rooms.

Space costs around £15 per sq ft and around 30 ten­ants have al­ready moved in, in­clud­ing set de­sign­ers Block9, who have worked with Banksy, Lana Del Ray and Go­ril­laz, and fash­ion de­signer Craig Green.

Even­tu­ally the build­ing will be de­mol­ished to make way for the wider redevelopment of the site in West Sil­ver­town, which will in­clude ap­prox­i­mately 5,500 new homes and

The re­de­vel­oped site now in­cludes 32 stu­dios of var­i­ous sizes and ten­ants al­ready in­clude set de­sign­ers Block9 and de­signer Craig Green

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