Cheshire West and Chester Council in partnership with Cheshire East Council is seeking a design team for a new £14 million pair of history centres in Chester and Crewe
The team chosen for the initial £35,000 contract will draw up ‘inspiring, innovative and accessible’ plans for a new pair of bases for the local authority’s extensive local history archive which is currently based inside the ageing Cheshire Record Office on Duke Street.
The project, planned to complete in 2024, will create a new £7.25 million headquarters for Cheshire Archives on the site of the former Enterprise Centre in Hoole Road while also creating a £6.8 million satellite facility on the site of Crewe Library in Memorial Square.
According to the brief: ‘The councils are seeking a consultant to prepare outline designs for the two new facilities, in line with the vision for the history centres and for the service, to support the first round HLF application. The work will need be underpinned by engagement with users of the service, residents and people who currently do not engage with the service but who the development of an outline activity plan identifies as potential target groups for the service and for the HLF bid.
‘The appointed consultant will also need to work collaboratively with a lead artist who is being appointed to provide creative concepts and solutions to both the activity plan and the physicality of the buildings and their immediate surrounds. The sites have different characteristics and it will also be important to reflect these in proposals produced by the design team.’
Bordering Merseyside, Manchester, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Shoprshire and Wales – the 2,344 km2 county of Cheshire has a population of around 1 million people. The main town is Cheshire but other important settlements include Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Macclesfield, Northwich and Runcorn.
The Cheshire Archives and Local Studies facility has been based inside the Cheshire Record Office since 1985 and its current premises fail to attract significant numbers of visitors and are considered no longer fit for use.
The project will create a new headquarters for the service on the site of Chester’s former Enterprise Centre in Hoole Road while also creating a secondary facility by redeveloping Crewe Library in Memorial Square, Crewe.
The project aims to upgrade the facilities, boost access to the collections among a wider audience, increase the number of visitors and provide a more sustainable basis for the service.
The winning team will be expected to understanding the place, people and politics of Cheshire, demonstrate innovation and responsiveness to the brief, and have a collaborative attitude towards working with the Cheshire Archives and Local Studies team and its partners.
The deadline for applications is 10am on 8 January.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Cheshire West and Chester Council
HQ, 58 Nicholas Street
Tel: +44 1244972784