The East Leeds Pavilion
Announcing a partnership between the East Leeds Project, MassBespokeTM and the communities of east Leeds.
It is our ambition to create a temporary ‘Pavilion’ on green space in east Leeds. Our preferred site is adjacent to Fearnville Leisure Centre in Gipton. The Pavilion will be a shared space, managed locally, where people come together for conversation, creativity and exchange. The process will be entered into collaboratively by local people alongside artists, architects, students and professionals from a range of disciplines, coming together to form an intergenerational project team. The project aims to reconnect with histories of innovation in sustainable social housing central to the founding vision for the Gipton estate in the 1930s, as we approach its centenary.
The Pavilion will utilise the MassBespokeTM system developed in Leeds by Bauman Lyons architects. This pioneering technology democratises the construction process by enabling a community-led approach responding to local need. MassBespokeTM employs a computer-controlled (CNC) cutting machine set up on site in a ‘Flying Factory’ to fabricate components from digital design files sent from anywhere in the world. From these, agile, high-performance timber cassettes are fabricated and rapidly assembled onsite by a local workforce comprising skilled and semi-skilled workers. Training is built into the project programme at every stage, and outputs will include enhanced digital literacy and skills development for those seeking employment. The project facilitates exchange between workers, residents and professionals sharing their respective skills, specialisms and enthusiasms with each other. MassBespokeTM is designed to achieve high standards of environmental performance, optimise use of materials, eliminate waste, and remove the need for heavy transport and lifting equipment at all stages of construction.
The Pavilion will provide a maker space for activity led by stakeholders. As a creative hub it will enable responsiveness to key dates in the cultural calendar such as Light Night and the Gipton Gala, and provide a base for exploring the Wyke Beck Valley on foot and by bicycle. Although imagined as a temporary structure, the Pavilion will be robust and could remain in situ for a number of years. Over time, a ribbon of pavilions could be constructed throughout east Leeds, growing cultural infrastructure where little currently exists and specifically addressing the complete absence of creative workspaces in the east of the city. Structures constructed through the MassBespokeTM system are potentially mobile, and once disassembled the land can be returned to its original state.
Once established, the Factory could enable many communities to build homes and other facilities. It could generate a new social enterprise of community makers supplying garden sheds, workshops, garages, house extensions and so on through a local supply chain adding social value to place making. The Pavilion will form an R&D phase as we test the technology, build community trust and enhance our understanding of local infrastructure needs, and gather our workforce and creative team. We are actively seeking potential partners and collaborators for the project including local residents, businesses and organisations, citywide training and service providers, and creative makers of all kinds, particularly those based in east Leeds.
Photography credit: Andy Irving