|Date:||8 December 2009|
International designer Wayne Hemingway has broken the ground at the start of building work on the new £10m Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts. Born in Morecambe, the multimillionaire is an honorary graduate of Lancaster University and was awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. With his wife Gerardine, he founded the global fashion label Red or Dead which was sold in 1999. The couple then created Hemingway Design, which specializes in affordable and social design and whose projects have won numerous awards.
Mr Hemingway said: "Investing in the arts has always been worthwhile for our "souls" but it's now proving to be a worthwhile economic investment as the creative industries sector continues to grow and contribute healthily to employment and economic output."
The new LICA building will house Art, Design, Music and Theatre Studies as well as three public arts facilities; the Peter Scott Gallery, the Nuffield Theatre and the International Concert Series. It will also host the research group ImaginationLancaster. The timber framed building - due to open in September 2010 - will be the public face of the LICA groups, with a stage for the nationally and internationally recognised work produced at Lancaster University. The building, in a woodland setting on the north campus, is designed to encourage visitors into LICA and be the base for the redevelopment of the entire arts sector on the north campus.
The architects Sheppard Robson have designed the development with the aim of it becoming the UK's first higher education project to achieve the new "outstanding" rating under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating. This will include natural ventilation, reduced energy consumption and the use of sustainable materials such as timber. The 5000 square metre environmentally-friendly timber building will be wrapped in translucent cladding which will filter varying degrees of light into the interior. The main accommodation includes three interlinked social spaces, with open plan offices on the first floor. The contractor is Morgan Ashurst.