The University of Worcester is seeking an architect to transform a Grade II-listed disused furniture showroom into a new ‘Art House’
Planned to complete in 2018, the £2 million project will convert the former County Furnishings building on Castle Street into a new ‘creative, contemporary and flexible space’ for the university’s illustration students.
The winning team will transform the ground floor of the two-storey, 1,500m² complex into a large studio space with three separate teaching areas configured using moveable gallery walls and storage units. A workshop, exhibition space, offices, meeting space and car park will also be delivered.
According to the brief: ‘The architectural treatment will be grounded in the creative, inclusive and educational purposes of the building. Primary users will be Illustration students and staff but there will be many students from related disciplines also using the building, such as digital media, screen writing and animation.
‘The university wishes to appoint an architect with experience in the refurbishment of listed buildings and fit-out for higher educational purposes (ideally design of art facilities) to further develop the feasibility scheme to obtaining planning permission and to discharge all pre-conditions.’
Occupying the site of Worcester’s former county jail, the building known as Austin House originally opened as a car showroom in 1938, designed by Scottish architect John Soutar. The brick structure, featuring a landmark four-storey tower, was later converted into a furniture showroom before being purchased by the University of Worcester in 2015.
The university first opened in 1946 on a former RAF base. It currently has 10,095 students and 700 staff across two main campuses. BDP won a contest for the university’s £90 million City Campus on the site of the former Worcester Royal Infirmary opposite Austin House 10 years ago.
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios completed a competition-winning £40 million library and history centre, The Hive, for the university in 2012.
Nicholas Hare Architects was recently chosen to design a 5ha student accommodation complex for the university and its new Severn Campus next to the Roberts Limbrick-designed University of Worcester Arena and Riverside Buildings.
The latest project will restore Austin House and upgrade its mechanical and electrical infrastructure. Windows, doors and the building’s roof will all be replaced. The ground floor will be converted for educational use while the upper storey will be reserved for storage and plant.
The deadline for applications is noon, 20 February.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
University Of Worcester