Bradford 2025's Dan Bates, pictured with creative director Shanaz Gulzar, said sustainability is to the fore. Credit: Tim Smith

Bradford 2025 architectural contest now open

Working with RIBA, the delivery organisation has launched a design competition for a temporary touring venue to host events across the district as part of the UK City of Culture year.

Bradford 2025 has also announced a £3m cultural capital fund for existing venues to improve access and upgrade facilities in the build-up. There will be two grant schemes: small scale of up to £5,000 each and larger scale for a minimum of £50,000.

The Beacon project is a flagship scheme: a new temporary touring performance venue to be located in parks across the district during 2025, enabling larger scale events to take place in the heart of local communities.

Architects and designers will be invited to submit creative ideas to deliver a RIBA [Royal Institute of British Architects] feasibility study and early concept designs.

The project brief is now available to download from the competitions page on RIBA’s website. Entrants have until 27 June to submit applications.

An architect should be appointed by autumn this year.

Shanaz Gulzar, creative director for Bradford 2025, said: “We may be 18 months away from the official start of our City of Culture year but we started work the day after we were announced, and the work to lay the foundations and deliver a show-stopping year is well under way.

“We’ve already supported 35 local artists and organisations to develop new work and with Bradford Council we’re encouraging more large scale commissions for this November’s ‘Bradford is LIT’. The biannual light festival is growing into a standout date in the cultural calendar and will be an important moment in our lead up to 2025.”

Tumpa Husna Yasmin Fellows, co-founder and director of Our Building Design and RIBA architect adviser for the competition said: “The Beacon is a competition for arts and performance spatial design, seeking responses through the lens of de-colonial architectural practice, design methods and proposals.

She added that the project speaks “to the global impacts of climate change and to a desire to create more equitable public spaces by facilitating the voices of under-represented and local diasporic communities, in the design, build and use of Beacon; widening access to the arts, architecture and design.”

Capital development projects are being accelerated, said the Bradford project team. Kala Sangam and the National Science & Media Museum will both start work on substantial redevelopment projects in the next year.

The much-anticipated transformation of the former Odeon cinema into the 4,000-capacity Bradford Live music venue is due to open in 2024, with Keighley-based RN Wooler & Co the main contractor for the project.

Dan Bates, executive director for Bradford 2025, concluded: “We want our year as UK City of Culture to create a lasting and positive impact on the people, artists and organisations across Bradford district. We are committed to ensuring the legacy of the year is felt in and across all our distinctive local communities.”

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