Today is the official opening of Alexandra Palace’s brand new Creativity Pavilion. This innovative new space will provide a home in the recently developed East Wing of the building for our Creative Learning programme, which uses the arts and history of the palace to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to develop new skills and boost their well-being.
To see how much this space has changed in recent years is a great example of what we want to do, together with our partners, to keep improving the park and palace for everyone to benefit from.
Louise Johnson, Alexandra Palace’s Strategic Programme Manager explains more: Four years ago, in the midst of the East Wing Restoration Project, our fledgling Creative Learning team were steadily building their programme of activity and engagement. By summer 2016, they were already welcoming pupils through the doors and recruiting an army of volunteers. This progress prompted a rethink about our ambitions, so we asked FCBS, the East Wing project architects, to come up with an exciting, bespoke learning space for the Creative Learning team, in the heart of the East Court.
We didn’t want to design this in isolation, so we held a Thinking Day (we thought it sounded more fun than ‘workshop’) and invited local schools, health service providers (particularly those experienced in dementia/ Alzheimer’s), set designers, volunteers, sixth form colleges, artists, specialist schools and local organisations like Haringey Shed, Jackson’s Lane, Haringey Music Service and Haringey Mind, to hear what they thought. Their input was crucial to the development of the design to ensure a wide range of user groups could benefit from the new space.
Funding was awarded in 2017, but there were a few bumps in the road before the fabrication and installation of the Creativity Pavilion could really get going; but in early 2019, Factory Settings, who had already built both the Theatre Bar and the East Court’s interpretation structure came back to the Palace in search of the project hat-trick. They joined forces with structural engineers Corbett and Tasker, Max Fordham (building services engineers) and Reeds (mechanical and electrical contractors) to get the new structure in place.
The Creativity Pavilion is now a reality, located in the North East Alcove of the East Court, there for everyone to see. It consists of a steel and aluminium structure, wrapped with opaque polycarbonate cladding at the upper levels to create a light box, and a series of fixed and movable panels at the lower level. A new suspended ceiling and motorised curtain rail allows for the space to be darkened for projection. A lighting rig, complete with speakers, gives the space a theatrical feel and the flexibility to be adapted to different activities and workshops. The moveable lower sections means the space can work independently from other activity going on in the East Court. Similarly, the doors can be opened up, so activity can spill out into the East Court. With furniture for children and young people, workshops and other creative activities it means people now have a welcoming, inspiring and modern fit-for-purpose space that will boost all the amazing work our Creative Learning team and our partners do.
We’re delighted the Creativity Pavilion is now open. It marks another step towards our charitable mission – to repair, restore and maintain the Park and Palace for the enjoyment of the public, forever. We hope you enjoy it!
It is brilliant to mark the official opening of the Creativity Pavilion with a new exhibition called Little Inventors. This is the culmination of a year-long project that challenged children across north London to start on their own inventive journey, inspired by the innovative spirit of the adventurers and aeronauts who have appeared at Alexandra Palace over the years. Four winners were selected and their designs brought to life by redLoop, the design and innovation centre at Middlesex University, and will be displayed in the Creativity Pavilion until 24 March.
Alexandra Palace is a charity, run for the benefit of everyone. Our Park, Palace and spectacular events have been enriching lives since 1863, but the coronavirus pandemic has hit us hard. To be blunt, we are looking at a £1m shortfall this year and the same again next year. We know this time has been hard on many people but, if you can afford it, your support will help us get through this crisis.