…it’s an outrage that a man in Glasgow has on average less than 10 years of life than someone growing up on this planet in Hart in Hampshire … for too many people Geography turns out to be destiny. Transcript of PM Boris Johnsons’ ‘Levelling up’ speech 15/07/2021


&rchitecture’s atelier position stems from the global discourse surrounding social inequality and spatial discrimination; its relationship to human rights and the climate emergency. The pandemic and subsequent publication of the government’s Levelling Up the United Kingdom White Paper (2022), have highlighted geographic disparities in opportunity.

3&rchitecture students adopted the East Lancashire town of Burnley as their territory, a Priority Group 1 area eligible for Levelling Up Funding. Using Take Back the Economy (Gibson-Graham, 2013) as a theoretical framework to structure site investigations and demographic analysis, 3& collectively mapped everyday examples of ‘kin-frastructure’ or networks of alternative community economies, to create ANDPLAN, an urban masterplan for Degrowth.

Our site, Burnley Empire Theatre, is an example of community commons located within the ANDPLAN. This landmark’s austere façade conceals one of UK’s last remaining intact auditoriums designed by leading theatre architect, Bertie Crewe (1860-1937). Using Degrowth and alternative economy principles, BA 3& envisioned the theatre as a community asset. The concept of commons provided a lens to debate an architect’s role in contemporary practice to nurture commons-based economies while exposing challenges posed by non-commercially funded heritage reuse schemes. BA 3& have synthesised community consultation; client-informed brief development and circular economy principles to imaginatively inform their individual project narratives and proposals.