Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is recruiting an architect to deliver a £770,000 complex of artists’ studios at Westcliff-on-Sea
The team chosen for the commission will create 20 new studio spaces for emerging artists inside a landmark seafront building in the Southend suburb.
The project, backed by Southend’s Focal Point Gallery, will transform the historic former home of the Beecroft Art Gallery on Station Road into a new artists’ colony featuring a community gallery and workshop spaces. Planning permission has already been awarded for the exterior works.
The competition brief says: ‘Since the relocation of the Beecroft Art Gallery to the former central library building on Victoria Avenue in 2013, the seafront hotel it previously occupied has remained empty.
‘Following an artist studio feasibility study conducted by architects Manalo & White and artist’s studio Acme in 2016, it was recognised that there is a demand for additional studio space in the area and that this site would provide a large number of visual arts focused units whilst providing an income stream to the [Focal Point Gallery] to further diversify its income, help to diversify the gallery programme and broaden audiences.’
Focal Point Gallery is a town-centre venue, which hosts major solo exhibitions, group shows, thematic shows, performances, film screenings and talks. It is located in ADP’s The Forum, also part home to South Essex College and the University of Essex.
The latest project will create a number of studio spaces operated by Focal Point Gallery and is planned to complete in 2010. Its dramatic site is opposite the 1964 Cliffs Pavilion, a theatre and music venue.
Last month Hawkins\Brown won a publicly tendered contract to deliver Southend’s new £40 million seafront museum, now known as the Thames Estuary Museum. The new attraction, on the Essex town’s Western Esplanade, a short distance from the new studio spaces, will feature a museum, planetarium, restaurant, café, shop and multistorey car park.
In September ADP won a separate competition to design a landmark £6.3 million pavilion on nearby Southend Pier. The flexible cultural and leisure facility will be on the landside northern end of the Essex town’s Grade II-listed structure, which at 2.16km is the longest recreational pier in the world.
The deadline for applications is 2pm on 29 November.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council