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Citizens Design Bureau wins £4.3m Highgate arts hub job

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Citizens Design Bureau (CDB) has won a publicly tendered contract for a £4.3 million revamp of the Grade II-listed Jacksons Lane Arts Centre in Highgate, north London

The rising star practice defeated an undisclosed shortlist of five rival teams to win the £417,000 design contract to repair and upgrade the celebrated multi-arts venue.

Founded in 1975 inside a former Wesleyan Methodist church converted by Tim Ronalds, the Jacksons Lane Arts Centre has played a key role in the development of experimental performance in the capital for decades.

The latest project, planned to complete in spring 2021, upgrades technical and visitor facilities within the complex, which features a 166-capacity theatre, large-scale studio and café-bar and is in need of urgent repair. CDB completed a feasibility study for the scheme in 2016.

Jacksons Lane Arts Centre chief executive James Tilston said: ‘Jacksons Lane are delighted that our plans to improve our much-loved building have been supported by both Haringey Council and Arts Council England.

‘This is a really exciting time for Jacksons Lane as we look to ensure the arts can be experienced and enjoyed by everyone in the community long into the future. We will be able to make the building fully accessible for the first time, more environmentally sustainable, and create much better facilities for artists, audiences and participants.’

The Jacksons Lane Arts Centre commission, awarded in January, is the practice’s second competition win within a year. In 2017, the firm was selected ahead of Studio Weave, Dow Jones, DK-CM and Price Gore to win a competition to regenerate St Peter’s Church in Epping Forest. The project will remove a 1950s extension, refurbish the church’s original elevation and re-plan the interior to allow for a greater variety of community uses.

In March, the practice was also awarded ‘permission to start’ by the Heritage Lottery Fund for its competition-winning Manchester Jewish Museum project, which already has planning permission.

Planned to start on site later this year and complete in 2020, the project will create galleries, learning areas and events spaces in an extension to the Cheetham Hill Road synagogue while also restoring the Grade II*-listed Moorish Revival building.

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