A £14m arts complex in Southampton city centre is set to throw up a string of opportunities for designers.
Southampton’s New Arts Complex – temporarily named Snac – will be a multi-purpose site drawing together visual, performing and moving image work, including an Asian arts presence. Designers and architects are still to be appointed to the project, which secured £5.75m of grant funding from Arts Council England at the end of June.
A branding consultancy will be appointed by the key stakeholders in the coming months to develop a permanent name and identity for the centre.
The complex will occupy the lower floors of a larger residential scheme and will include the University of Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery, a contemporary visual arts gallery. Partners in the scheme include Art Asia, which will receive £750 000 of the Arts Council grant, and City Eye, an organisation that provides training and facilities for digital film-making.
Artists’ impressions of the overall complex, including the residential tower, have been created by Assael Architecture, while Glenn Howells Architects has drawn up more detailed designs for the interior and exterior of the arts centre itself, as well as John Hansard Gallery. Once architectural appointments have been confirmed, there may also be an opportunity for a gallery design specialist to join the project team.
‘Whoever wins the contract to design the complex will adopt the same principles and concepts as the Assael drawings, because these take into account key considerations, such as the ability to see through the buildings from the Guildhall opposite to East Park beyond,’ says a spokesman for Southampton City Council.
These appointments will be made by the site’s developer The Raven Group. Work on the complex is scheduled to begin in 2006, with a projected opening in mid-2008.