Arts & Culture \ Hamilton Arts Centre

The practice was invited in 1997 to enter an invited limited competition for a new Arts Centre in the centre of Hamilton. The previous year a competition had been held for the formation of a new town square and this building linked the town square to the centre of the existing town and in particular required the retention of the facade of the former Phoenix Theatre, a Grade B listed building on site but due for demolition.

The brief was complex requiring a new town library, a fully functioning theatre space and a series of smaller events rooms and a major new "town room".

Our proposal kept the main functions of library, theatre, and town room as distinct buildings: the theatre taking on a semi-circular familiar form; the library being a long wall of books on three levels and the town room being a town House like-building with a large first floor opening onto the square, and cafe at ground floor level. These main buildings were linked by an internal atrium space, (an alternative town Square in inclement weather!) The Phoenix Theatre facade lead to an arcade between the library and the theatre which gave on to the town Square. Light was admitted through this arcade and along its entire length could be viewed the activities of the library, in particular the great wall of books which we proposed to make a form of town wall against the Clyde Valley landscape.

The "town room" having its origins in moot halls, consisted of a major space at first floor which could open to the square on special occasions. Below the room was a cafe which could expand both externally and internally.

The entry was unsuccessful, but the winning project has not been built.

Architects Richard Murphy
Construction Cost £8m
Client South Lanarkshire District Council
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