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the power of culture to create stronger communities

Culture provides people with ways to explore, celebrate and create shared experiences, bringing depth and meaning to their sense of a place. Enriching in itself, culture also adds social and economic value, creating the right conditions for innovation, regeneration and the development of local skills and talent.

Whether working on stand-alone new builds or the refurbishment of historic or beloved sites, shedkm’s approach to cultural buildings has always been to put them at the heart of community and placemaking. We start by identifying what is unique or of special value to a location, and look at what can be nurtured by design, with buildings and spaces that support and strengthen community through rich, varied and inclusive programming.

This month sees the official opening of The Dance Space, our purpose built, stand-alone centre for South East Dance, that sits at the heart of our new Circus Street development in Brighton. Designed in close collaboration with this leading dance company, the building provides a cultural heart and signals the commitment of the development to people and community. Café and retail spaces at ground floor will contribute to a vibrant neighbourhood, lively with activity by day and night. Community programming will encourage inclusive and active participation for all ages.

The main dance studio and a community space are connected by a large expanse of opening glazing, and connect in turn to a new public space providing opportunities for outdoor performance and informal gathering.  We wanted The Dance Space to be a welcome addition to the highly creative and rebellious personality of Brighton. The feature ‘corkscrew’ escape stair has quickly become emblematic of the development’s playful identity.

Back in Merseyside, shedkm is working on a cultural refurbishment project located on a tight urban site. We are transforming Lighthouse Church to provide a much-needed community hub and to revitalise the high street itself.

As churches look to maintain their role in the community and engage an increasingly diverse audience, shedkm has worked closely with the church steering group on the design of a large space designed to accommodate a wide range of community events including concerts, exhibitions, playgroups, youth activities, classes, counselling, advice and community support services. Embracing the concept of welcome and hospitality, our design creates a new open relationship with the existing streetscape and community, with extensive glazing which will invite people to step inside.