Major new cultural centre to open in heart of Northampton

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Major new cultural centre to open in heart of Northampton
Artist-led project will see the derelict Georgian building transformed into a vibrant creative community, as it becomes the new home of NN Contemporary Art.

NORTHAMPTON.- NN Contemporary Art, in partnership with West Northamptonshire Council, today reveals plans for a major new cultural centre at 24 Guildhall Road, in the heart of Northampton’s cultural quarter. The £4.7 million project, which is about to enter its second stage of works, will see the five-storey redundant heritage building transformed into a vibrant creative community, with a contemporary art gallery, affordable creative studios and public spaces.
With a phased opening planned from late 2023 / early 2024, the 2000 sq. metre Georgian building will become the new home of lead tenant and founding partner, NN Contemporary Art (NNCA), who will take over the lower three floors, opening a free public gallery space that will showcase the very best of international contemporary art. With a focus on nurturing the town’s creative ecosystem, the floors will also encompass 20 affordable creative workspaces and studios, enabling hundreds of artists and creators to grow and develop their practice in the town.

Designed to become a major creative hub for Northampton and the wider East Midlands region, the fully-accessible building will also incorporate multi-functional community and event spaces, including a civic reading room and arts library, a retail space and multimedia lab. Further creative and cultural tenants will be invited to lease the upper two floors.
The project team includes Northamptonshire's PHP Architects, CS2 Chartered Surveyors and artist/architect Sean Griffiths, acting as Client Advisory. Taking inspiration from its original 1920s design, the plans honour the heritage of the building, seeing many of its original features restored, including the stunning terrazzo floor. Artist Giles Round has been commissioned to design the Civic Reading Room Space.
Emer Grant, CEO and Artistic Director, NN Contemporary Art, said:

“We are delighted today to be announcing the next stage of our relocation & renovation project at 24 Guildhall Road. Working alongside partners we aim to bring a new kind of cultural institution to Northamptonshire. Our approach throughout has tried to expand the terms of collaboration (and municipal process alike) as integral to the design of 21st century public realm. Phase two of this capital project will continue to develop civic spaces to an environmentally sustainable and culturally ambitious outcome with the aim to open in late 2023. The completion of 24 Guildhall Road will bring exciting benefits to our local community and recognises the pivotal role of contemporary art in shaping extraordinary places”

Identified as a key element of Northampton’s regeneration, and highlighted as one of the public’s preferred priorities through a consultation carried out by Northampton Forward, the £4.7 million project is supported by the government’s Towns Fund and part of the Northampton Town Centre Masterplan. Alongside Towns Fund investment, phase one of the project has delivered £1.15 million through South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership’s Getting Building Fund.

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