Make’s studio in a former car-park, harnessing features to promote wellbeing


Range of work settings in Make’s studio, all accessible and visible in the expanse afforded by the former car-park

Car-park morphed to workplace: Imaginative, productive re-use

ZZA has long championed adaptive re-use. Ziona’s book Buildings that Feel Good includes exemplars like the iconic Oxo Building, and Third Place Health Club, highlighting these adapted buildings’ narrative value, and her recent essay Roll On Retro First champions the relevance of adaptive re-use to the zero carbon agenda.

Re-using legacy stock isn’t always a slam dunk answer – the benefit to cost equation can be too imbalanced. So it’s highly important to identify exemplars that work well to intensify productive, sustainable usage. And it’s hard to think of an adaptation that serves sustainability more than converting a car-park to a workplace, which is what Make Architects did in creating the home for their studio in 2015.

Now, some seven years down the line and following Covid’s interruption, Make commissioned ZZA to test the studio’s performance in use, by undertaking an independent Post Occupancy Evaluation. Using ZZA’s structured methods, we ‘tested’ the studio through over 100 questions on key building systems, patterns of use, perceptions and experiential outcomes. As always, our POE outputs offer instructive learning points, but in evidencing the very positive outcome that can be achieved through visionary adaptive re-use, this litmus test is highly encouraging. Makers rated the vast majority of aspects positively, and on the very high bar of user satisfaction that ZZA deploys, their evaluation of key KPIs as Major Successes includes pivotal aspects of adaptive design, making this POE a clarion call for imaginative, thoughtful retrofit.

Resilient cities

Continuing ZZA’s established collaboration with University of Chongqing in China, Ziona is participating in the University’s forthcoming book on Resilient Cities. Her chapter – Wellbeing and Social Health addresses key influences of ‘wellbeing in use’.

Entrance to Make’s studio


Make studio’s processional entrance, with multi-use of the legacy entry ramp for circulation, exhibition and collaboration