A studio-in-stable makes the perfect base for Sanya Polescuk’s practice and for the Community Land Trust she co-founded to campaign for affordable housing in NW3.

What is it that really makes me tick? Over the last 15 months or so many of us have pondered that question. Made to stop, put on noise-cancelling headphones and listen to our inner voices, we heard fundamental questions that begged for answers.

I have worked all my life and enjoyed it. But was it really necessary to leave home and go out to work?

In common with a great many of us, with the exception of a short spell of a few months in Spring 2020, my colleagues and I had that choice. We could work from home or to go out to work. We chose both. With nearly 10m2 per person, our studio-in-stable makes for a perfect working environment, even in these socially-distant times. It also epitomises our work ethos and feels like a home from home. It is adopted, adapted and made sustainable – hard wearing, easy to maintain and telling stories of its historic uses.

Moreover it is in our studio where NW3 Community Land Trust’s activities and regular meetings used to take place pre-Covid. I co-founded NW3 CLT back in 2016 and after years of campaigning for affordable housing in NW3, this year we finally succeeded. As community-led developers, we have been chosen to partner with Camden Council and deliver an 85% affordable housing development around the corner from our studio. That is unprecedented in our area of high value. We are working with Mole Architects on developing our initial sketches and looking to deliver the first flats in early 2024.

Our studio work has been developing ideas of retrofit on projects of varied scale – from a Listed Manor in the Yorkshire Dales National Park to a Mews House in Belsize Park. Finding the materials which straddle the past and the future, provide carefully balanced air tightness and beauty and essentially both highlight and improve the original building fabric is a continuous work in progress. Working with colleagues and clients who share that enthusiasm is infectious.

I can conclude now that all that really does make me tick and I am incredibly excited about the future.

Sanya Polescuk
London NW3