Work begins on Kala Sangam’s multi-million pound capital redevelopment.

Published by KalaSangam on

Following a competitive, public tender process, Simpson have been appointed as Main Contractor for the major redevelopment of Kala Sangam’s Grade II Listed arts centre, with work having started on site on Monday 22nd April 2024.

The project will see the creation of a new theatre, five new dance studios, a new central staircase and a permanent home for volunteer-led community radio station Bradford Community Broadcasting (BCB). The introduction of a new entrance, two new lifts and a dedicated Changing Places facility will ensure the building is fully accessible for the first time in its 140-year history. The building is scheduled to reopen as Bradford Arts Centre in Summer 2025, as a landmark moment in Bradford’s year as UK City of Culture.

York based construction company Simpson have extensive experience working on the redevelopment of heritage buildings and arts venues, with recent projects including York Art Gallery, Hull Maritime Museum and Salford Cathedral.

As works prepare to get underway, global professional services company Turner & Townsend have also been appointed to the project as Capital Project Manager. Specialising in major programmes and programme management, Turner & Townsend have significant experience supporting the successful delivery of cultural and heritage capital projects around the world, with examples in the UK including the redevelopments of York Guildhall and Battersea Power Station.

Turner & Townsend join a Capital Design Team led by Principal Architects and Contract Administrators Halliday Clark Architects, who have been developing the project with Kala Sangam since its inception in 2018. Also staying with the project are Quantity Surveyors DKP Consulting, Mechanical and Electrical specialists BWB Consulting, and Structural Engineers SGM Structural Design Ltd.

Jas Athwal DL, Chair of Kala Sangam said, ‘After many years of planning, we are delighted that work has finally started to transform our home at St Peter’s House into a fully accessible space, ready to welcome artists, audiences, our local communities and businesses in 2025 as Bradford Arts Centre.

‘I would like to thank our funders – the Department of Culture Media and Sport and Arts Council England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Garfield Weston Foundation and Bradford Metropolitan District Council – for supporting the redevelopment. Bradford is desperately in need of more space to create and enjoy arts and culture, and this redevelopment will ensure our building is a more open, welcoming and inclusive venue that the whole district can enjoy.’

Alex Croft, Creative Director of Kala Sangam said, ‘I’m delighted that we have appointed Simpson Limited as Main Contractors for the redevelopment. Right from our first meeting, we’ve seen the passion, dedication and professionalism that they bring to their projects – it feels like we couldn’t have placed this critical project in safer hands.

‘It has also been brilliant to welcome Turner & Townsend onto the team. Their support and hard work have been critical in getting the project to this exciting stage and we’re all looking forward to working with them, and drawing on their extensive experience, throughout the build.’

Andy Gatenby from Simpson said, ‘Simpson are excited and honoured to be working with the client Kala Sangam on the redevelopment of their cultural hub into the newly named Bradford Arts Centre. The project which aims to extensively reconfigure and upgrade the existing buildings facilities, will continue to be a great asset to the community. This is an exciting time for the city ahead of Bradford being the City of Culture for 2025 and one that Simpson are proud to be a part of.’

Richard Walsh from Halliday Clark Architects said, ‘We are delighted that the project has reached this exciting milestone, the result of years of hard work from a dedicated and creative client team. We are looking forward to working alongside the principal contractor Simpson in seeing this project through to handover. 

‘The final result will add a new chapter to this historic heritage asset, offering fully inclusive spaces and reconnecting the building and the arts centre to communities of Bradford in a new and exciting way.’

Michael Grace, Turner & Townsend Director and North East Strategic Lead said ‘We are delighted to be supporting Kala Sangam on the redevelopment of the stunning Heritage, St Peter’s House. Our team of project management experts have in-depth experience of managing governance in cultural projects and we committed to revitalizing this historic gem to create state-of-the-art facilities that will resonate across generations.’

During the redevelopment, Kala Sangam will be based at Bank House in central Bradford. This temporary home houses two studio spaces – allowing the company to continue its critical support for artists in the run up to Bradford’s year as UK City of Culture – and a range of spaces available to hire for meetings, events and conferences. Whilst Kala Sangam’s theatre space is closed, the company is taking its performances on tour, with events at venues and non-traditional spaces across the district. The next performance in the programme is Vijay Venkat’s Jazz Fusion at Bradford Club on Friday 10 May. Full details of the offsite programme can be found here.

Image c. Karol Wyszynski L- R: Richard Walsh (Halliday Clark), Andy Gatenby (Simpson), Jasbir Athwal DL (Kala Sangam), Andy Hogg (Simpson), Alex Croft (Kala Sangam), Ross Wilkinson (Simpson), Eleanor Crosbie (Halliday Clark)
Categories: General News

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