Studio 144

Location Southampton
Client Grosvenor
Size 14,400m²
Status Built

2018 Blueprint Award, Shortlist
2017 Hearts for the Arts Award, Shortlist

I find them to be an innovative and practical architecture firm. Imaginative and creative with their ideas and able to coordinate difficult negotiations with the council, they are also fun and easy to work with.

Ed Skeates, Development Director, Be First Regeneration

For more information on this project please contact Adam West.

Studio 144 is Southampton’s flagship development within its designated ‘Cultural Quarter’ and has been designed as a mixed-use development to bring people and purpose into the heart of the city, beyond the working day.

Southampton’s aspiration for a tall landmark development housing a council-funded arts complex at the base was turned on its head, by placing the cultural facilities centre stage and raising the bulk of the arts facilities above ground floor, to create valuable space and active frontages for cafés and restaurants and make the arts complex financially viable. 38 quality apartments above were carefully integrated to not compromise the arts facilities and offer exclusive homes with exceptional views.

The 6,000m² arts facilities sit within two buildings either side of a new pedestrian route, connecting Guildhall Square with the Grade II* listed Andrews Park. The arts complex entrances precisely frame the Grade II Guildhall portico opposite; their symmetry completes the square and visually connects the two buildings, while their massing develops asymmetrically behind in response to their internal arrangements. Thus, the development mediates between the wider city and its immediate context; the informal verdant ‘parkscape’ and the formal urban ‘streetscape’ of the Guildhall Square - a response praised by English Heritage. The North Building houses large-span performing arts spaces, comprising a flexible 448-seat auditorium capable of operating in all conceivable formats, a 119-seat studio performance space and a dance studio. A café bar and education / community workshop spaces operate alongside.

The apartments rest above the art gallery in the South Building, 600m² of environmentally controllable gallery spaces, workshop / education facilities and a shop.

Terracotta rainscreen cladding with a continuous uniform ‘net’ pattern wraps all volumes providing coherence. Illuminated auditorium boxes provide a night time landmark at roof level and limestone matching the Guildhall frames public uses. The ground floor restaurants and cafés animate the streetscape with lively shopfronts and seating and create new connections between cultural offers and potential audiences.

CZWG worked in collaboration with Glenn Howells Architects, who fitted out the arts spaces for the City Council and arts organisations. Nuffield Southampton Theatres occupy the North Building, whilst the South Building accommodates the John Hansard Gallery, a University of Southampton venue which is one of Britain’s leading public galleries. City Eye, a community arts organisation working with a variety of people in the medium of film and video, also resides here.

The development utilises the city’s district heating and cooling system, while innovative sub-structure engineering re-utilises the previous building’s piles and basement retaining walls by designing the basement slab as a giant raft to support the 10-storey building.