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A revival of a derelict building into a light industrial space for London’s creative community, Hackney Depot is a stunning example of how a strategy of retention over demolition can preserve a rich sense of history and also different possibilities of meeting a local area’s needs.

Hackney Depot digital tour

Use the slider to view the before and after transformation.

Hackney Depot is the building that sits above the Ash Grove bus garage, an operating garage shared between HCT Group and Arriva for 30 buses. Opened in 1981 by London Buses, the building that is now Hackney Depot provided staff facilities such as locker rooms, washrooms, a canteen and a desk for union staff – representative of an era of social welfare and public services. It was closed in the mid-1990s and the space remained empty and derelict for nearly 25 years.


Hackney Depot through the years

The refurbishment was done by 6AM Development, a London based practice, who approached the project with a mantra to retain as much of the original building and materials as they could.


They also designed the space for uses that would allow for retention of existing components such as walls so as to require minimal new construction. 


This approach prevented the demolition of the building and reduced waste, through keeping as much of the original fittings and structure as possible. Any features that did not meet modern specifications were refurbished to minimise sourcing new materials.

For example, former offices are now studios and the main conductors’ hall is proposed as an events space to retain existing walls. Much of the sanitary ware was retained or repurposed.


In addition, the transformed space retains interesting features from its previous use, preserving a sense of history.

Visit us and try the app on the building

Try the on-site app yourself at Hackney Depot to learn more about the different circularity approaches throughout the building. Follow the simple steps below.

1. Visit the building!

2. Find the QR codes throughout the building using the guide below.


3. Find a QR code, such as the one below. Scan the code with your mobile or table to activate the application and step back to the floor marker, such as the one below.


4. Walk back slowly until you see the pop-up elements on your screen and follow the instructions on the screen.

Hackney Depot onsite AR app

Take a virtual AR tour

Can't visit the building in person? Try the online version and visit the building right on your mobile or tablet, wherever you are.

1. Find the app

If you’re on your phone or tablet, click on this link below to launch the app in your browser. We recommend using Safari or Google Chrome.

If you are using another device without a camera (such as a desktop), scan the QR code below with your mobile.


2. Launch the app

Click ‘Launch’ on the Zappar app. Wait for the app to ‘unlock’ the model (you may need to give permission for the app to access your camera). A wifi connection would allow the object to load more quickly.

3. Place the building on your screen

Tap on the screen to place the ‘building’ on a surface - we recommend placing the object on a flat surface such as the floor or a desk. You can move your device around to see how that changes your view of the building. 


Tip: you can replace the object by tapping on the icon on the top left.


A screen with instructions on how to use the app will appear (below). Click on the screen again and the instructions will disappear so you can interact with the building.

CIRCuIT CEP app instructions.png

4. Explore the building through the location pins

You can then tap on the location pins and numbers to visit each part of the building and view images and discover interesting information about the circular aspects of the building. Start from 1 - Reception and follow the numbers until 10. After opening each location, to go back to the building, press the back icon on the top left hand corner.

CIRCuIT CEP app locations.png
Hackney Depot online AR app
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