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Stallan-Brand reveals plans for £24.7m Paisley arts complex

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Glasgow practice Stallan-Brand has unveiled plans for an arts development which could assist Paisley’s bid to become 2021 City of Culture.

The firm, appointed to the project around six months ago, has produced images of the proposed cinema and performing arts theatre complex on behalf of Paisley Community Trust.

Proposals for the ‘wasteland’ site include a three to five-screen cinema, a 500-seat theatre, a 150-seat studio theatre, rehearsal rooms and offices plus a bar and restaurant.

Andy Campbell, founding trustee of the trust, told the AJ: ‘It is quite an awkward site to design for, with the main railway line bordering the site.’

Individual buildings on the site will be wrapped in a translucent covering, which Campbell said would allow the development to ‘blend together’.

Along with the 5,000m² of buildings, the scheme will also include a memorial garden dedicated to 71 children who lost their lives in a crush at the city’s Glen cinema on Hogmanay 1929.

The scheme does not form an official part of the City of Culture bid, but it is hoped that the venue would open in 2021 and play some part if successful.

The trust was formed in 2014 to drive the proposals after Renfrewshire Council identified the need for a new theatre.

Stallan-Brand’s scheme has been named Baker Street Paisley in reference to 1970s pop star Gerry Rafferty, who hails from Paisley.

The trust will now work on a more detailed business plan to help raise the estimated £24.7 million needed to build the scheme.

Conceptual section

Architect’s view

Paisley Community Trust was formed in 2014 with the bold vision of delivering a new performing arts and film theatre venue for Paisley, which has been identified as a significant opportunity in the town centre asset strategy published that year. The strategy reports outlined the need for a 350+ seat theatre. By combining niche cinema, an education facility, bars, restaurants, outdoor performance spaces and sympathetic landscaping, the creation of a new place in the town is not only possible but desperately needed to rejuvenate the town and transform the lives of its communities.

The site is located to the rear of the former Arnotts building in Paisley’s Town Centre. It is bound to the north by the railway line, to the east by Smithhills Street and the west by Incle Street.

The preferred site is in many ways Paisley’s front window

Seen by 7 million rail passenger journeys, the preferred site is in many ways Paisley’s front window. By transforming this wasteland, a bold statement of intent will be made to show Paisley is a place to go to, rather than escape from. By creating an intelligent, flexible, multipurpose performance space, Paisley becomes a realistic option for a wide range of performances, productions, acts and more. The selected site offers the widest range of options for development. It will have strong visibility, easily accessed for visitors and event organisers and has the potential of creating more than just a building – it’s the creation of a new cultural and creative quarter for the town.

The site will be divided north to south in three sections. At the heart of the scheme will be the main building encapsulating all of the main components including theatre and film rooms. The building will be constructed parallel to, but away from the railway line. From the outset the decision was taken to offset the new building from the railway to avoid any nuisance associated with noise or vibration. This defined the first public frontage, established the northern edge of the building created a unique promenade space to the north of the building, expected to be vibrant and lively. South of the building will be the opportunity to create a new green space for the town since the formation of Dunn Square in 1894. The Glen Gardens will be formed in honour of the victims of the 1929 Glen Cinema disaster, the garden will feature a reflection pool and a commissioned commemorative statue.

Ppaft model view 1

Ppaft model view 1

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