Open Havelock began in Autumn 2018. At this time, a masterplan for the regeneration of the Havelock Estate had been approved. The first phases were underway but other parts of the estate were awaiting redevelopment and needed attention too. At the west of the estate, beneath the housing blocks of Willowbrook, Damsonwood and Havelock Road, an expanse of garages were fenced off, closed and empty. In 2019, a study was commissioned to explore how these disused spaces could be activated and converted. Residents and local stakeholders shaped the project from the outset. Long form interviews were recorded and transcribed and present a rich portrait of perceptions of the estate and its everyday use. Listen to them here.
A number of consultation events were held on site in the undercrofts and a project steering group was set up to share and direct the project’s progress. Through small scale interventions and regular programmed activities, each proposal was enacted on site at concept design stage to test assumptions around its operation and functionality and to inform design development. The garages at Willowbrook South were licensed and adapted for boat storage and at Willowbrook North, a series of play sessions were commissioned in the garden and undercrofts.