‘Make Yourself at Home’ is the theme of this year’s Grangetown vertical studio, a project that takes place every year for first- and second-year students from the Welsh School of Architecture.

The project runs for a total of two weeks and is an ungraded project which embeds principles of live teaching and collaborating with local communities, moving away from the traditional studio setting that students are used to. By working with a ‘live client’ students will not only step out of their comfort zones but will also gain news skills on how to work with external clients and learn the rewarding impact of community work. Community Gateway has helped run vertical studios in the Grangetown community since 2015, focusing on a variety of community themes such as shop local campaigns, mental health, and philosophy cafes. The last two years of the vertical studio have focused on working with the Grange Pavilion, creating contributions which will have a lasting impact on how activities in the pavilion are run, along with how the space will be furnished.

In collaboration with the Community Gateway team, along with the Grange Pavilion’s manager Sophey Mills and local chair-maker Chris Williams, the students have been tasked with designing and creating prototypes for a moveable storage unit, stackable chairs, and a demountable table that will be used in the Grange Pavilion. Throughout the two week duration of the project, students will have the opportunity to talk to members of the Grange Pavilion CIO about their visions for the design of the furniture in the pavilion, and to receive feedback from the Community Gateway team along with one-on-one sessions with Chris.

On Monday the 20th of January, the students had their introductory session to the vertical studio. They firstly visited the Grange Pavilion construction site and had the opportunity to talk to BECT’s site manager Kevin, and to get a feel of the space and how it will be used upon launch. The students then had time to explore the local area before moving to Channel View Leisure Centre where Mhairi McVicar, the project lead for the Community Gateway team and lead of the vertical studio, along with partnerships manager Ali Abdi, Sophey Mills, and student ambassador Andrea Drobna spoke more about the history of Community Gateway, the Grange Pavilion, and their roles in the project. After an afternoon of brainstorming and creating their initial designs, they met the Grange Pavilion CIO members in at the Grangetown Hub in the evening.

Throughout these two weeks, the students will be exhibiting their work and receiving feedback from Chris and the team, along with engaging with Community Gateway’s social media pages and doing takeovers of the Community Gateway Twitter account.

Keep an eye out on our Twitter in the next week to see their tweets, and please support the project on both our Facebook and Twitter pages! The final presentation of their work will take place on the 31st of January and will be open to all community members. Please remember to check back to our social media pages with the specific time and place of this event. We look forward to seeing you all there!

With Love,

The Grange Pavilion Team