New £2.4 million creative hub for Coventry
CGI of remodelled Daimler Powerhouse (Nicol Thomas Architects)
The Daimler Powerhouse, originally known as 'Motor Mills' and located on the edge of Coventry city centre, is to be turned into a major creative hub at a cost of £2.4 million providing an art production facility for artists and resident creative companies.
It was constructed in 1907 in red brick and is the only part of Lawson's Daimler factory, where Britain's first Daimler car was built in 1897. Much of the site was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, but the powerhouse and an office block remains. Sited between Sandy Lane and Coventry Canal, it was first a cotton spinning mill, and is considered to be the birthplace of the British motor industry.
It will be an integral part in supporting UK City of Culture 2021 and will focus on performance works and is being led by Imagineer Productions specialising in cultural events and including the award-winning 'Godiva Awakes' (2010-14) and 'Bridge' (2018-20).
The re-development is being funded with £1.9 million from the Cultural Capital Investment Fund which is resourced from Coventry City Council and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership's Growth Deal. The Wigley Group, which owns Sandy Lane Business Park has enabled the project to proceed by agreeing a discounted 20-year lease on Daimler Powerhouse. Work is due to start for planned completion in March 2021.
The Daimler Powerhouse project will complement The Wigley Group's own plans to transform neighbouring Sandy Lane Industrial Estate into Daimler Wharf, a vibrant new neighbourhood for living and work, culture and leisure.
The centre will provide a dedicated base for Imagineer and a new home for six independent arts organisations.
Nick Abell, interim chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) said:
'Daimler Powerhouse will be a tremendous addition to Coventry's cultural assets and particularly during UK City of Culture 2021 which will showcase the city to the world and boost the economy across our region'.
Leader of Coventry City Council Cllr George Duggins said 'In the midst of everything that is going on I'm delighted to see progress on this project. The city and the country needs something positive and creating a dedicated production hub for arts and artistic organisations in the city is positive new step culturally and economically'.