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Competition: Wysing Arts Centre

Wysing Arts Centre
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Wysing Arts Centre is inviting bids to design a £350,000-to-£500,000 overhaul of its headquarters in rural Cambridgeshire

The centre – which has provided low-cost workspaces to artists since 1989 – is seeking an architect to reconfigure several buildings across its 4.5h campus. Hawkins\Brown completed a £1.3 million reception and studios block for the centre 11 years ago.

The latest phased project, planned to start on site in 2020, will improve gallery spaces, create a flexible performance space and production space and boost access across the site. It will focus on the gallery, stable block, main studio building, reception, top barn, ceramics studio and tractor shed.

In its brief, the arts centre says that its site has been ‘managed sustainably to allow areas to remain wild, and support wildlife. There are 10 separate buildings on the site, including one artist-built structure. The buildings are clustered into one third of the overall site and create a campus-like feel.

‘We want our site and buildings to reflect the ambition and scope of Wysing’s pioneering and radical programming. In addition, we want our site and buildings to be accessible, user-friendly, and energy-efficient. We want to make the best use of what we already have to carry out a cost-effective refurbishment at a total budget, including design, consultancy and build costs, of £350,000-to-£500,000 (dependent on fundraising outcomes).’

Wysing Arts Centre is 14km west of Cambridge near the village of Bourn, occupying a former farm which features elements dating back to the 17th century. Facilities include artist studios, a gallery, a recording studio, project spaces, artist accommodation, a ceramics workshop, and outdoor sculpture areas.

Since 1989, the centre has hosted a variety of residency programmes supported by Tate and other organisations such as the Royal College of Art and Cambridge University. Participating artists have included Mark Essen, the video artist and poet Ed Atkins, and 2018 Turner Prize-winning filmmaker Charlotte Prodger.

The latest project aims to boost the site’s accessibility, energy efficiency, and the visitor experience. It will focus on Wysing Arts Centre’s eight main buildings while not covering the Grade II-listed farmhouse, a 2007 straw bale studio, nor a performance venue by AJ Small Projects 2011-winning Köbberling & Kaltwasser.

Applications should feature a written expression of interest, details of practice ethos and approach to sustainable, and examples of previous work at a similar scale. Shortlisted teams will be invited to draw up costed plans by 9 March.

The deadline for applications is 12 January.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

Mary Cork
Head of Development
Wysing Arts Centre
Fox Rd
CB23 2TX

Email: mary.cork@wysingartscentre.org
Tel: 01954 718881


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Readers' comments (1)

  • An open competition for a project which - subject to raising enough cash - may be worth £350-500k including fees and other costs.
    No wonder our economy is so unproductive.
    The wasted effort will likely be of more value than the cost of the project.

    Clients who don't have the ability to take a better route to commissioning an architect should not be in charge of such funds.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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