Kier begins construction of Culture House overlooking Riverside Sunderland

Sunderland City Council, which is leading the development, has appointed leading UK construction company Kier to build the eye-catching venue, designed by award-winning North East practice FaulknerBrowns Architects.

As the site is developed, Culture House director Leanne Littlewood is inviting residents, community groups and organizations to provide feedback on what they would like to see from the site.

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The Council aims for the Culture House to provide digitally powered immersive spaces and exhibitions to inspire and educate, as well as areas that can be used by the community to learn, meet and have fun.

Councilor John Price, holder of the Vibrant City portfolio, said Culture House would bring immediate benefits to the local community even before it opened, thanks to Kier’s commitment to social values.

He said: “From the moment Kier begins work on this building, our communities will benefit as opportunities are presented to local businesses and people during the construction phase.” Local people will help build the cultural center help, and local contractors will work on it and provide the materials for construction.

“That fits, because our goal is to create a space in the Culture House that is shaped by our residents. This is a real asset to the community because it has truly been co-designed by local people and is designed to meet their needs.”

The council has already engaged hundreds of residents and held public consultation sessions to gather feedback on initial proposals for Culture House. The response to the building was overwhelmingly positive and residents welcomed the addition of a place for families in the heart of the city.

Further work has been carried out with local schools and college and university students and a competition was launched last month to design one of the youth spaces in the new cultural center.

Sunderland City Council worked with partners Microsoft and TA Education to build the Culture House in Minecraft to inspire young people and give a taste of what could be possible in the building.

Leanne Littlewood, who was appointed to draw up plans for the building earlier this year, said: “We want to give our residents the opportunity to curate the cultural offering across Sunderland and help us to create different spaces across the city “design to inspire people in all corners of our community.”

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Work is expected to be completed in summer 2025 and Dan Doherty, regional director at Kier, said: “Culture House will be an outstanding new venue for Sunderland residents and visitors to the city.” This project will bring many benefits to the region throughout construction “including new jobs, apprenticeships and internships on site.”

Culture House is one of a number of developments progressing as part of Sunderland City Council’s Riverside Sunderland Delivery Plan, including the development of Maker & Faber, two new Grade A office spaces; the Sheepfolds Stables leisure complex; and a new residential project on the former Vaux Brewery site. The goal is to double the region’s resident population and increase employment by 50 percent. Kier begins construction of Culture House overlooking Riverside Sunderland

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