Luton Creative Co-work Space & Gallery
YOU&ME and Fleet Architects are working with Charity Luton Culture on the refurbishment of Luton's Grade II listed oldest surviving hat factory. The Hat works building is part of a major redevelopment of three historic hat factories in the Hat District for creative, design, tech and digital businesses. The 3-storey building will provide co-works studios and workshops and act as the threshold to a suite of buildings supporting the creative industries within Luton’s Hat District. Hat Works will open in 2019 alongside the Hat House (also by Y&M and Fleet, more here) which will provide accommodation for fledgling businesses graduating from the smaller studio spaces also operated by Luton Culture.
Key to the design brief is to create a membership based co-working space for creative individuals / fledgling creative businesses which offers a range of working environments. In addition to this the Hat Works will also become the welcoming ‘entrance’ to the Hat District and wider cultural scene of Luton, with a gallery space and reception area which can also be used for ad hoc meetings, information exchange, continually changing exhibitions and retail promoting the members personal work. A new atrium area will be the heart of the building providing a social space for members to relax, share ideas and also forms the new circulation core within the listed building. The overall approach is that of a sensitive refurbishment which celebrates the industrial heritage of the building, whilst at the same time reinvigorating the building, enhancing its relationship to the street and its surrounding context, and promoting the enterprise of Luton.
The aim is to transform Hat Works into an exemplary and successful creative co-workspace, and hub that for the Hat District and wider cultural establishments of Luton. The project aims to set a very high standard in cultural provision which will attract users from a wide geography. The team is working to a fast track programme to meet the demands of the funding cycle (Heritage England and HLF) with Project Managers Hewitt Freeborn.
The project received Grade II listed building planning and conservation area consent in December 2019.