New images show Sunderland's stunning new Culture House as plans are set to be submitted

Sunderland city centre's newest cultural attraction has moved a step closer, with a detailed planning application set to be submitted.

By Kevin Clark
Monday, 20th December 2021, 6:00 am

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New images show how Culture House, in Keel Square, will look.

Culture House will be a multi-purpose venue, combining a city library and permanent home for local history and archive collections with spaces for exhibitions, storytelling, learning, gaming, media, arts and crafts.

Featuring a café, roof garden and social spaces, the building will offer a mix of immersive digital experiences and traditional media.

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City council chief executive Patrick Melia said the plans represented an important milestone: “Culture House will be a stunning building, a showcase for our Smart City credentials and a source of inspiration for an ambitious, forward-looking city,” he said.

“These proposals reflect the views of local people and our partners, and we have also learned from the experience of some of the world’s best new cultural venues and libraries.”

Council leader Coun Graeme Miller added: “We’re thrilled with these plans.

"Culture House will be a truly world-class venue and it is destined to be a much-loved addition to the life of the city. It will be a source of pride and a symbol of the city’s resilience and its confidence in the future and will draw more people and their spending power into the city centre, fuelling the regeneration of the area and supporting local businesses.”

How the roof garden and cinema will look

Culture House has been designed by award-winning local architects FaulknerBrowns, who were also responsible for the nearby City Hall. The £25million building will provide more than 75,000sq ft of accommodation on four floors, and has secured funding from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund.

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It is expected to attract more than half a million visits a year from across the city and beyond.

Project director Ciara Eastell OBE has been a key part of the team shaping plans for the building: “We’re excited to see Sunderland City Council take the next important steps in realising the ambitions for Culture House, a new city centre destination that will benefit communities and residents across Sunderland,” she said.

The plans feature a mirrored lantern

“Culture House will be a hive of creative energy - a stimulating, engaging, immersive house of learning and creativity for all residents and visitors to Sunderland."

Members of the community had played a vital role in shaping the new buidling, she said: “Local residents, groups and partners across Sunderland have all given their ideas and suggestions for Culture House over the past six months and it will be exciting to see those ideas come to fruition.”

Designs for the building have been developed by FaulknerBrowns Architects.

Lee McLaughlin, Partner at FaulknerBrowns Architects, said the design was intneded to ‘explore Sunderland’s historical focus on making as well as it’s ambition as a contemporary city with a pivotal role to play in the UK economy’.

“The project sits at the heart of our successful Future High Streets Fund application, which focuses on the city’s journey to a post-retail future and seeks to increase social, environmental and economic value by creating unique experiences and cultural gravity,” he said.

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