riba awards

Leicester Print Workshop




Leicester Print Workshop Anton Gorlenko 3

ARCHITECT: Takero Shimazaki Architects

CLIENT: Leicester Print Workshop

AWARDS WON: riba EAST MIDLANDS award 2016, 
RIBA East Midlands Small Project Award 2016, 
RIBA East Midlands Project Architect of the Year 2016


The Leicester Print Workshop is a transformation of a 1970s former glass warehouse to create new printmaking studios, library, gallery and education spaces in the city’s Cultural Quarter. The design is a fantastic example of how a 1970s warehouse building can be re-envisioned to create an elegant maker space. The new openings in the existing brick elevations frame the activities within, while reuse of existing brickwork allows subtle remodelling of existing openings.

The project was funded significantly by Arts Council England, together with investment from major grant-making trusts and various fundraising events and activities by the artists themselves. Internally the very tight budget has been maximised by a palette of low-cost materials and white walls set off by simple but elegant detailing and careful consideration of space. The judges particularly commended the engagement between the architects and client, working closely together to bring this project to life.

The visibility of the artists and occupants and their activity became central to giving this neglected site a new lease of life and engaging passers-by. The 4,800sqft warehouse was completely gutted to allow for the insertion of new windows, floor and roof to form 8,500sqft of new spaces. The whole scheme contrasts the industrial with the refined; old factory winches are juxtaposed with new white walls, while exposed concrete lintels have been beautifully chalked with room names. All of these elements create a backdrop that is both functional and elegant.

According to the artists involved, the collaboration has transformed not only the premises, but also the artists, members and Leicester itself. This has been achieved in a number of ways - not least the improvements in the public realm, street scene and in the innovation of the client body and design team to think beyond the limitations of budget to produce an exemplar of sustainable renewal in cities.

CONTRACTOR: Brown and Shaw
Quantity Surveyors: MDA Consulting



COST: confidential


PHOTOGRAPHER: anton Gorlenko

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