The Archives

Tottenham,  2020
16,722 m² / 180,000 ft²

Tottenham’s community of makers, climbers and creatives have taken over a six storey disused 1960s warehouse, thanks to our inspired retrofit for client Purpose Group.

With the tightest budget for this meanwhile space, our strategy was to provide 21st century services and let the robust concrete structure and the abundance of natural light across these double-height stacked warehouses speak for themselves. The idea is to make the building a backdrop for life to happen.

Purpose Group usually turns disused buildings into affordable workspace, but this one is also a community resource, requiring leisure and social space. We used the strong, existing structural grid to divide the floors up into different shapes and sizes of units, according to programme.

The existing brick exterior with steel windows has been repaired. Internally, we have juxtaposed new finishes against rough industrial textures.

Interior walls are white, with low-level gloss datums to add a human scale. Block colours add character and wayfinding: the feature colour for studio floors is dark green while circulation spaces are yellow. Plywood signage mimics the language of a high street and light penetrates communal kitchens and meeting rooms thanks to glass block walls.

We stripped out decades of accretions from its previous life as a legal storage depot and installed new services throughout (heating, lighting and communications infrastructure).





The second floor is a well-equipped, open-plan makers’ space with a few large, separate studios. The third and fourth floors are home to 36 individual studios, of varying sizes.

With a basic white box presentation, metal stud walls accommodate flexible division; occupants can add mezzanines or punch through to adjacent studios, as required. Good acoustic insulation between studios ensures comfort for the all occupants – currently artists, designers, photographers, chefs, florists and even a radio station.

The ground floor is open plan for events and café activities. We designed and sourced key elements ourselves to create a consistent language and character across the building, from bespoke joinery to signage.

The first floor, occupied by local climbing centre Stronghold, offers an exhilarating new landscape for its young climbers including those from local schools in Harringey.

The fifth floor has been left in its gritty, industrial state, for photo and film shoots.


‘Phase one reached full occupancy almost immediately, speaking volumes about the design and quality of the product ROAR helped us produce. All those who have visited the building and those who now reside here admire the scheme.’  –  Dan Cohen CEO of Purpose Group

Phase 2 is about to commence and will provide more event spaces, leisure and social opportunities for the local community. A mural by local artist Hanna Benihoud Studio is proposed for the lower sections of the cores.