Granby 4 Streets and the Turner Prize

Assemble at Granby 4 Streets Market, in the yellow jackets.
Assemble at Granby 4 Streets Market, in the yellow jackets.

The news has just broken that Assemble, the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust architects, are one of the four nominations for this year’s Turner Prize, principally for their work in Granby.

“In an age when anything can be art, why not have a housing estate?” asked judge Alistair Hudson, when pressed about the inclusion of the London-based collective Assemble.”

The Guardian goes on to say:

Assemble represent a first for the Turner prize: currently comprising 18 designers and architects under 30, they are a loose collective who make direct interventions. The primary project they are nominated for is their collaboration with residents of the Granby Four Streets area of Toxteth in Liverpool.


The red-brick terraced estate had fallen into disrepair until four years ago when, inspired by the guerrilla gardening movement, residents began taking the situation into their own hands by setting up a community land trust. From there, they invited Assemble to help improve the houses and neighbourhood. “This was people on the ground, bringing artists in, to make the world better,” says Hudson.

Another Assemble project is the Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock, east Glasgow: a rethinking of what a playground is and one that allows children to embrace both their creative and destructive sides.

All 18 share a studio in east London and accepted the nomination only after a group meeting. “They don’t occupy the realm of the single genius, solitary artist,” said Hudson. “This is collective activity working in society.”

Assemble, Granby residents and the fireplaces.
Assemble, Granby residents and the fireplaces.

The Independent also reports the news:

A collective of radical architects who revitalised a housing estate in Liverpool have grand designs on the Turner Prize after being shortlisted for the British art world’s leading award.

Assemble, a London-based group of 18 young “activist architects”, who seek to address the “disconnection between the public and the process by which places are made”, are among the nominees on a list which the jurors said featured unashamedly political artists.

The most controversial nomination is for Assemble, a collective based in Bow, East London, born out of “collective frustration” at the way standard architecture practices often work. Largely comprised of Cambridge graduates, the group embrace “direct action” and work with local communities to challenge the gentrification of housing stock by commercial developers.

Assemble were invited to work with residents at Granby Four Street, who formed a Community Land Trust to save 200 terraced homes condemned for demolition.

Assemble worked with artist Will Shannon to cast new fireplaces for each home using demolition waste from the construction process.”

Making the fireplaces, in Granby and from Granby.
Making the fireplaces, in Granby and from Granby.
Well done Assemble.
Well done Assemble!

Commenting on the news Erika Rushton, Chair of Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust says:

“Assemble have joined in with a creative process in Granby that began when residents stopped just going to endless meetings and started taking back thier own streets, planting them up and creating a monthly street market that’s more like a party. Assemble, our social investor and our principal funder the Nationwide Foundation, recognised that here was a creative community where, despite the surrounding dereliction of 25+years, they were remaking and reimagining the place as beautiful, busy and full of people.  Some artists seek to decorate the world and some to reflect or question it. Assemble are working with all of us to change it.”

Already, since the nominations were announced, us and Assemble have had lots of congratulations and more than a little media interest. See ‘The Story of Granby 4 Streets here.

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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  1. Reblogged this on helenrib and commented:
    Amazing Assemble! This is how to make homes and create communities. They have my vote ( and just when I thought I never wanted to hear that word again, having wasted mine here in Torytown only last week.)

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