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Work starts on Flanagan Lawrence’s Sunderland venue

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Construction has started on a new multi-use venue in Sunderland, designed by Flanagan Lawrence, which will become the centrepiece of the city’s emerging cultural quarter

The 3,509m² project, originally costed at £8.2 million (see AJ 23.02.17), marks the third phase of the wider Music, Arts and Cultural (MAC) Quarter and will sit on the corner of Garden Place and Dun Cow Street.

Now dubbed the Fire Station Auditorium, the scheme features retractable seating for 450 people or standing space for 750, and has been designed for both ‘amplified music or a natural acoustic’ as well as the staging of drama, dance or comedy.

The building is linked to the neighbouring Fire Station – which closed in the 1990s and was recently reimagined as a restaurant and cultural centre – and will share common facilities ‘to form a single arts complex’.

The glazed foyer over the new building will be clad in a terracotta brise soleil, matching the ‘colour and tone’ of the red-brick fire station.

To the side of the auditorium, the former Parade Ground will be reworked and landscaped so it can be used for public events, outdoor eating and drinking with an external stage, nestled into the side of the building, for performances and concerts.

Flanagan Lawrence director Jason Flanagan commented: ‘Sunderland has lacked an appropriate specialist venue for music for many years, and there are currently no medium-sized or specialist performance venues anywhere in the city.

‘This exciting new development will significantly enhance Sunderland’s cultural offer.’

The building was initially expected to finish late next year but is now set to complete in 2020. 

Interior collage

Plans from 2017 (left) current proposals, November 2018 (right)

Plans from 2017 (left) current proposals, November 2018 (right)

Collage fire station auditorium fl

Plans from 2017 (left) current proposals, November 2018 (right)

Plans from 2017 (left) current proposals, November 2018 (right)

Project data

Client Sunderland Music, Arts And Culture Trust
Location Sunderland
Status Planning approval
Architect Flanagan Lawrence
Structural consultant WSP Structure
Acoustician and theatre consultant Idibri
Size 3,509m²
Start on site date 2018
Completion date 2020
Total cost £8.2 million (2017 cost estimate)

Sketch macq sunderland flanagan lawrence

Sketch macq sunderland flanagan lawrence

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