Client Conygar Nottingham Ltd
Location Nottingham, UK
Unlocking a post-industrial brownfield site, The Canal Turn (also known as 1 The Island Quarter) forms the gateway to a major new cultural hub, marking the first part of The Island Quarter mixed-use masterplan. The canalside building houses a 2,000 sqm flexible events space, a bar, and a restaurant within a form that draws on the site’s heritage and context, evoking the warehouses and factories of Nottingham’s industrial past.
Located to the southeast of Nottingham city centre, The Canal Turn occupies a prominent site less than 500 metres from the main train station. Highly visible from London Road and Station Street, the main building is part of a wider plan to draw pedestrians towards the city’s eastern fringe. Within the plot, we have introduced a sculptural outdoor stage within a new landscaped public plaza, which will host concerts and open-air markets as part of a programme of year-round events. The plaza smooths the transition from the newly built elements to the canalside, providing a step-free, accessible route down to the towpath.
Our design draws on local architectural heritage, especially the historic Lace Market and Nottingham Railway Station designed in the mid-19th century by renowned local architect Thomas Chambers Hine. The lower parts of the main building and the shaft of the stair tower are comprised of a robust, red brick from the Nottingham Patent Brick Company, while the upper levels of the main building incorporate a textured cladding that adds further warmth and tactility.
Facades have a clear visual hierarchy, communicated through clarity of massing, consistent materiality, and strong relationships between different compositional elements. Arches are a repeated motif across the façade forming window openings and a colonnade which runs adjacent to the urban plaza. Tying the site to its industrial past, the listed 18th-century canal turnover stairway has been resurfaced for improved accessibility and refurbished with new railings linking into the existing cast iron railing at the northern edge of the footbridge.