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Architects review Leicester Print Workshop

Image of Leicester Print Works

Published December 2017 in NICHE magazine.
Local firm Hickman & Smith Architects describe the newly located Leicester Print Workshop as a ‘new place for the creative industries.’ Here’s Adam Smith’s review.

The recent addition to the cultural quarter, the Leicester Print Workshop, is a hub of creativity that enriches the growth of the arts in the city.

The workshop, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, has relocated from its original home in Highfields and provides greatly improved facilities in the heart of the new creative centre in Leicester. We wanted to experience the print workshop first-hand to observe how the design of the building lends itself to its function. Director Lucy Phillips was kind enough to show us around.

As soon as you enter the workshop, you are struck by the use of light and space. The high ceiling and huge glass windows allow natural light to flood into the work space. One of the building’s great successes is this central space, which allows people to have a strong connection with the main work space and first floor gallery studio spaces and allows for a sense of collaboration between the different disciplines using this space. The exposed painted block work creates a real sense of a working space, that is highly functional, with walls used for displays to generate discussions. All these open plan communal spaces help foster a sense of community.

The exposed structural braces in the building also add to the sense of a functional space, celebrating the purpose of the building and honesty of the material to express how the building functions. The structure has been retained and exposed in the roof of the building which further extends the idea of the building being stripped back to its vital elements; masonry walls, structural steel bracing and steel roof trusses create a workshop space which allows artists the freedom to express their creativity.
On the first floor, you find individual artist’s studios. Most striking here is the large picture window at the end of the first-floor corridor, which creates a great focal point on the first floor. The organic functionality of the building can be observed in the use of the steel structural beam functioning simultaneously as a shelf for artwork, equipment and coffee mugs!

Overall, this stylish upgrade to the building’s fabric transforms a dark, anonymous warehouse into a light, vibrant design and creative space for individuals and groups to work together. Thank you, Lucy, for sharing this with us!

The Print Workshop hosts a number of public events. Find out more by visiting their website.

Next month I look forward to sharing our thoughts with you on an upcoming competition we are working on for a new public building.

Photos courtesy of Hickman & Smith Architects and Leicester Print Workshop.

Image of Leicester Print Works (inside)
Image of Leicester Print Works (inside alt)
Image of Leicester Print Works (showing machinery)
Image of Leicester Print Works (showing workshop)
Image of Leicester Print Works (showing workshop alt)