10 Houses on Cairns Street

Studio: Assemble
Authors: Assemble
Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom
Video: Assemble

About the project
Assemble worked with the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust (CLT) to refurbish 10 derelict terraced houses on Cairns St in Toxteth. The project was the result of a hard-won, 20 year battle by local residents to save the houses from demolition. The demolition of all but four of Granby’s streets of Victorian terraces during decades of ‘regeneration’ initiatives saw a once thriving community scattered, and left the remaining “Granby Four Streets” sparsely populated and filled with tinned up houses. A resourceful, creative group of residents started to bring the neighbourhood back to life by clearing, planting, painting, and campaigning. In, 2011 they entered into an innovative form of community land ownership, the Community Land Trust, to secure 10 empty houses, and renovate them as affordable homes. Assemble’s involvement in Granby Four Streets aims to celebrates the value of the area’s architectural and cultural heritage, supporting public involvement and partnership working, offering local training and employment opportunities and nurturing the resourcefulness and DIY spirit that defines the four streets. Granby Workshop’s first range of products were designed for the 10 houses being renovated, and included bathroom tiles, door handles and fireplaces Granby Rock fireplaces made from site rubble in collaboration with Will Shannon – new architectural features made in Granby and reflecting the care, value and creativity invested in these homes.

Why did you choose this category?
Whilst Assemble’s broader, ongoing work in the ‘Granby Four Streets’ fits well in the Collective Places category, we have chosen to enter this project, 10 Houses on Cairns Street, into the Personal Places category. For this project, Assemble worked with the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust (CLT), to economically renovate ten Victorian terraced houses as affordable homes. This was one of the outcomes of a strategic, sustainable and incremental vision created by the CLT, Steinbeck Studios and Assemble for the area, which built upon the hard work already done by local residents. This plan included the provision of new work and enterprise opportunities, which has been realised in the establishment of Granby Workshop, which was launched via the 2015 Turner Prize. The workshop’s first range of products was designed for the renovation of the 10 Houses. The supporting material shows the adaptability of the houses and how residents have inhabited the homes, making them their own.

Assemble started working with the CLT in 2012, supporting their bid to take control of the empty houses on their streets and use them to drive further change.
In Granby, a culture of creativity is embedded in everyday life and has been used by residents to bring about remarkable change. Assemble are interested in how people can take ownership of public space, how they can understand how things are put together and learn through making. The CLT were already working in this way, Assemble brought their skills and ideas into the wider effort.