Is this the future of Hackney’s iconic Rose Lipman Building?

North facing 'nonrendered visualisation' of a future redevelopment of the site produced by artist Jonathan Hoskins

North facing ‘nonrendered visualisation’ of a future redevelopment of the site produced by artist Jonathan Hoskins. Image: Will Henley.

It is only a matter of time before the Rose Lipman Building is demolished, according to an artist who has produced images of how a new high rise tower on the site could look.

Jonathan Hoskins is staging a one-day event about the future of the De Beauvoir landmark early next month.

The Rose Lipman Building used to house the Hackney Archives, but ever since these were relocated to the new CLR James Library on Dalston Lane two years ago a question mark has been hanging over the building’s future.

It has long been an open secret that developers are eyeing-up the site, which Hackney Council has identified as suitable for redevelopment in the “short or medium term” according to a document referenced by Mr Hoskins.

Delegates invited to the meeting on Saturday 7 June include representatives from the De Beauvoir Association and the local Conservation Area Advisory Committee as well as campaigners from Stokey Local, which organised eye-catching protests against the Sainsbury’s Wilmer Place development in Stoke Newington.

Mr Hoskins, who lives in De Beauvoir and has completed several visual art projects about East London, has also sounded out councillors and community activists as part of his research into potential options for the Rose Lipman Building site.

‘Consensus won’t be easy’

“I want us to talk about what people want for the future, the necessity being on opposing a kind of developer-led plan which is already in the pipeline,” Mr Hoskins said. “My hope is to facilitate community groups in the area getting together and beginning what will hopefully be a very constructive discussion.”

Any plans for the Rose Lipman site would not be without controversy, however.

“I don’t expect consensus to be easy,” he added. “There will be people who don’t agree on everything.

“We need more affordable housing. That’s pretty uncontentious. But what happens when having more affordable housing means a taller building? That’s not something everyone will be happy with, so I expect it to be quite a challenge.”

Rose Lipman

Seen better days?: The Rose Lipman Building as it looks now. Photograph: Jonathan Hoskins

‘Most likely scenario’

The Rose Lipman Building was built in the 1970s as a facility for the adjacent housing estate. It is now home to artistic learning space Open School East, which Mr Hoskins is an associate of, and last year it hosted an innovative Royal Court production of play Circle Mirror Transformation starring cult actor Tony Jones.

“Pre-rendered” images of a possible new development to replace the Rose Lipman Building have been produced by Mr Hoskins as a starting point for the discussion on 7 June.

Mr Hoskins said: “I have done a lot of research into precedents in the local area in terms of redevelopment projects – projects like the Peacocks building on Kingsland Road by Dalston Kingsland Station, and the Dalston Square development.

“These plans take account of decisions made within the council and the logic of developers, and also council legislation and policy.

“Quite an important factor in relation to the Rose Lipman Building for example is the fact that the council’s tall buildings strategy deems taller buildings to be more appropriate where there are already pre-existing tall buildings, so there is a greater chance of there being a tall building on the site of the Rose Lipman Building.

“My intention was to produce a ‘most likely case’ scenario for the future of the site without any intervention or input from local community groups.

“These plans are intended as a starting point for the discussion.”

Depending on the outcome of the meeting on 7 June, a consortium or interested parties could club together to submit a formal planning application to redevelop the site.

The meeting, ‘A New Rose Lipman for De Beuvoir’, takes place at the Rose Lipman Building, 43 De Beauvoir Road, N1 5SQ, on Saturday 7 June.

During the morning it will be invite only, but anyone can attend from 2pm. Free cake will be available.