LeftCoast’s Mereside community build lands place in Oslo exhibition

Mereside community build

LeftCoast’s Mereside community build has won a place in Oslo’s inspiring neighbourhood projects exhibition.

The brand new library and laundry room, on Langdale Parade, Langdale Road, will join 250 other projects in Neighbourhood Index’s virtual exhibit.

The news comes after one of the head architects of the build, Lee Ivett, submitted the LeftCoast project to Oslo Architecture Triennale’s Open Call for practices and perspectives that contribute to creating more diverse, generous and sustainable neighbourhoods.

Over 400 entries were registered, and the jury selected 251 to be exhibited in the online exhibition component for the Oslo Architecture Triennale of inspiring neighbourhood projects, perspective and practices.

Lee, who lecturers for academics from the Grenfell-Baines Institute of Architecture at UCLan alongside fellow architect Ecaterina Stefanescu, said: “It’s such brilliant news. The community volunteers have worked so hard to bring this project to life, so it’s a real credit to them to be listed next to so many other incredible international projects.

“Since day one, the Mereside build has always been about how we can make the neighbourhood more sustainable with the community always at the heart of the project. So to be recognised for this is such an achievement – I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved.”

Mereside Lee Ivett
Lee Ivett - head architect of Mereside's community build (Photo: LeftCoast)

The new Library and Laundry Room, which has been named Wash Your Words by local residents, is a collaboration between Blackpool arts company LeftCoast, Blackpool Council, and Blackpool Coastal Housing.

The concept initially came from a previous LeftCoast project in the area, called Mereside at Play. Through funding from Better Start, LeftCoast was able to undertake a programme of creative engagement around the development of green spaces in the neighbourhood.

The company then secured a bid from The National Lottery Community Fund, which allowed the team to take a further year long journey with architects Lee Ivett and Ecaterina Stefanescu, as well as those local to the area, to question and design a space that explores what role a multipurpose building embedded in a community could hold.

A space built on what people want and deserve, thoughtfully and beautifully designed in collaboration with the architects, rather than a space about need and deficit. The result: Wash Your Words – Langdale’s Library and Laundry Room.

Mereside Library and Laundry Room
Mereside Library and Laundry Room (Photo: Claire Griffiths)

LeftCoast’s Creative Engagement Manager and Project Lead, Laura Jamieson, said: “We are really pleased that this innovative project between socially engaged architects Lee Ivett and Ecaterina Stefanescu and the residents of Mereside is being recognised alongside other international design practice.

“We use creative processes to reimagine how our neighbourhoods can function, rooted in the wisdom, passion and skills of the people living in theses areas.”

The build is set to be completed at the end of July, and will be marked with a celebratory event for its opening. Further details will be released nearer the time.