Young artists in Docklands have a new drawing studio where they can hone their skills.
The Royal Drawing School has spent the last year working with Urban Space Management to transform a former oil and hemp storehouse in Trinity Buoy Wharf into a space for its Foundation Year students.
The school first came to the area in 2012 with 15 students based on one floor of The Mainstores but over the years has expanded to 44 students and three floors with additional space in Clipper House.
The school’s academic registrar Rebecca Court said: “What we had was great, with printmaking, sculpture and photography facilities and a good amount of studio space but we needed a big studio space.”
Discussions with Urban Space Management (USM) and The Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust led to a successful bid to Clore Duffield Foundation – a cultural grant-making charity – a year ago.
The school rent the spaces from USM which gives 25% to the Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust to help promote arts activities in the area.
Rebecca said: “USM have always been brilliant at accommodating our expansion.”
The studio was formerly a split-level oil and hemp storehouse, known as The Electrician’s Shop, designed by the then Chief Engineer of Trinity House James Walker and constructed from brick in 1835. It sits above a basement and it was decided to open up the levels into one large, airy studio. Building work starting in June and completed in late October.
Rebecca said: “They have stripped back the woodwork and beams. It is stunning with beautiful daylight and will be amazing for teaching and for students to realise ambitious projects and large-scale collaborative works.”
The Foundation Year are all aged 18-19 years and from east London.
Rebecca said: “They love it here as there is a lot to draw. We are right by the river and can see Canary Wharf and the cable cars and we have one of the only functioning piers in London, all of which the students find very interesting to draw.
“Drawing is the primary language we use to communicate and an essential tool. It is the starting point for architects, designers, creatives and is something we value.”
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