Case Study: Talent House by Citizens Design Bureau – Architect’s Journal | NutSocia

The Talent House is a new £4.1m state-of-the-art creative hub in Stratford, east London, as the home of East London Dance and national youth music organization UD Music. It was opened by London Mayor Sadiq Khan in July 2022.

The new center will equip young, diverse talent in east London to become the next generation of music and dance professionals, offering free and affordable access to world-class facilities as a launch pad to reach new audiences and foster collaboration between young artists and young artists to encourage creatives and producers.

Designed by Citizens Design Bureau Architects, the building is part of the Sugar House Island masterplan led by Vastint, with Waugh Thistleton Architects designing the outer shell and stair cores.

The building includes dance studios, music recording rooms, flexible classrooms and events spaces, a co-working space for artists and members, and a central atrium that functions as a multi-purpose space for dance jams and informal gigs.

The focus of the design is the promotion of creative potential with professionally equipped teaching, rehearsal and production rooms. There are also spacious areas for socializing and working together.

A pared-down but warm palette of materials, chosen with a strong sustainability ethos, reflects the quality, aspiration and ambition of the work done and the forward-thinking values ​​of both organisations.
Katy Marks, Director, Citizens Design Bureau

project data

Start locally December 2020
April 2022
gross internal area
1,038 sqm
construction costs
£2.3 million
Construction costs per m2
architect Citizens Design Bureau (outer shell and stair cores by Waugh Thistleton)
UD Music and East London Dance
structural engineer
Simple works
M&E consultant Skeleton & Couch
quantity surveyor Bristow, Pulse
project manager pulse
main designer Citizens Design Bureau with PFB Construction Services
Licensed building inspector Butler & Jung
prime contractor ITK
Acoustic Advisor Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design
CAD software used MicroStation
Annual CO
2 emissions Part of the M&E system was designed and installed by the developer, so we will conduct a post-occupancy assessment to determine usage figures. Cover and core designed by Waugh Thistleton to meet BREEAM Very Good
Embodied/Lifetime Carbon Data not available


The building is divided into two parts:
a refurbished three storey Victorian warehouse and a modern annex linked by a glazed link. In the camp there are dance studios and offices. The expansion houses five music production and recording studios, a live room and two vocal booths, as well as a large, flexible rehearsal/performance space and engineering lab.

Internal floor slabs and stair cores are made of cross laminated timber. Non-structural partitions and furniture are made from natural, recycled and recyclable materials while still meeting stringent acoustic specifications.

The partition walls are designed with an acoustically isolating “box-in-a-box” construction. Rather than using gypsum board, Fermacell panels made from recycled paper pulp offer fire resistance and better acoustic performance than gypsum board. Built-in and side furniture such as desks, tables and benches are made from cardboard. The Citizens Design Bureau has been developing paperboard furniture for a number of years, achieving strong, rigid and lightweight products. If the budget is tight, simply lacquered fibreboard floors are laid in mosaic-like patterns.

Our goal was to create a professional, up-and-coming atmosphere that still has personality and esprit, with a holistic approach to sustainability at its core, and to provide a robust, flexible space for future talent.
Katy Marks, Director, Citizens Design Bureau

Featured Products

Various acoustic partitions

hood lamps
Atelje Lyktan, from Form Us with Love
hood lamp
Offices, member rooms

Cardboard honeycomb board
WH Skinner
Continuous (made into tables by Pacy and Wheatley)

Countertops made from recycled plastic
smile plastic
Alba board
kitchens and countertops

Cracked dance floors
Harlequin Woodspring
dance studios

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