Reconfigured by Gensler, the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford, London, is now home to small, built environment-based businesses


Gareth Gardner

Gensler, in collaboration with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust (SLCT), has transformed the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford, London, into a creative hub for built environment-based start-ups and small businesses. Intended to foster networking, development and collaboration among emerging architects and designers, Your Space includes studios, meeting rooms, a reception lounge, cafe, event space and roof terrace. The architect donated its time and design expertise to the project, which is seen as an evolution of the centre’s original community learning focus.

A bold orange tone has been applied to the floors, walls and ceilings to visually connect the front and rear spaces across all three levels. Large glazed partitions replace solid walls, increasing visual permeability and giving glimpses of different activities taking place within. The introduction of other bold colours, together with indoor plants and variations in texture, are conceived as a celebration of energy, diversity and life, says the architect. They also complement the warm orange tone used throughout the scheme and in the SLCT branding.

Ground, First- and second-floor plans

New windows installed between the main atrium and cellular rooms increase sightlines and bring natural light further into the plan. The painted window reveals match the original deep red walls, juxtaposing old and new, as well as acknowledging the building’s past history.

Bespoke timber furniture, including flexible pieces that can be configured to suit both individual and collaborative needs, add warmth and texture to the interior. Architectural symbols and elevation markers are playfully integrated into the environmental graphics and wayfinding signage in a nod towards the centre’s new construction-based role.

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