Re-imagining High Streets
Studio 3 worked on the Austin Estate in Hayes in the last two years – this year, we have moved to the High Street and the backyards that support it.
The Austin Estate lies adjacent to the High Street, facing the blank walls of the loading bays and car parks, but also brick walls screening courtyards used for storage, play, access to homes and the sale of a large selection of shoes.
On the other side of the High Street, the yards form a network of neglected wilderness, parking, dumping grounds and workshops. These spaces are connected to the High Street through alleyways, and have the potential to create new links – to the Austin Estate, and to the schools and residential areas beyond.
The links between this and last year’s programme go beyond the physical links; one of the Studio 3 students is working with the women running the Austin Estate Sewing Club, which came together through events organised by last year’s student Susan Kudo.
Others have developed project ideas through events on the High Street in November, which included a paper engineering workshop for children, a gramophone installation, a printing studio and dance and parkour events.
The studio aims to address the more challenging aspects of Hayes’ transformation from a vibrant but economically struggling centre to a rapidly growing Cross Rail hub with prescribed aspirations.
Throughout the year, the studio has presented the projects in Hayes to local organisations and council representatives, and the conversations have drawn out particular links and local narratives. A proposal for example for a bicycle workshop re-imagines how bikes which had been purchased by the council but have yet to find a home could be used, and the ambition to create a canoe club is part of a project looking at the potential of a canal inlet and adjacent industrial site.
The body of projects will be presented in Hayes at the end of the year to show a re-imagining of what the future may hold for Hayes.
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