The Creative Quarter is home to many beautiful buildings and stunning architecture. With some of the oldest buildings in the city, the area has lots of stories to tell about its past, and its thriving, ever-evolving life today. These older buildings are still standing strong, and over the years, innovative new architecture has also sprung up, adding a fantastic contemporary element in contrast. It all fits together very nicely and underlines how Nottingham will be forever moving with the times, while preserving and valuing what made the city what it was, and is today. It’s like one big time lapse, celebrating architecture from past, present and future and the way old and new complements each other perfectly. Take a look at just some of the Creative Quarter’s architectural gems and get lost in history that’s still being created today…
NCN City – Adams Building
The Grade II* listed Adams Building on Stoney Street is the largest building in the Lace Market. Formerly a lace showroom and warehouse, it’s thought to be the largest and finest surviving example of a Victorian lace warehouse in the UK. The building was designed by architect, Thomas Chambers Hine and it was named after its original owner Thomas Adams, a Victorian industrialist with strong Quaker views and a deep social conscience. It’s now home to New College Nottingham and although it’s had a few tweaks and alterations since it first opened its doors in 1855, the Adams Building remains a wonderfully iconic feature of the area.
Built on a site that is said to be the oldest in the city, Nottingham Contemporary is one of the newer buildings within the Lace Market. Completed in 2009, with a floor space of 3,000 square metres, it’s one of the largest contemporary art centres in the UK and a great addition to Nottingham. It was designed by London architects Caruso St John and features a traditional Nottingham lace pattern on the exterior, in celebration of the area’s lace making heritage. Much of the building is sunk into the sandstone cliff that runs through the city centre, so there’s lots to discover over several levels.
Lace Market Trees
These lovely little gems were designed by Wolfgang Buttress and Fiona Heron, and were placed in the Lace Market in 2011, just at the back of the Adams building. The metal trees complement the square’s natural foliage and make a great decoration to the space, giving passers by something intriguing to look at whilst bringing a futuristic, natural feel to the area. The sculptural tree canopies draw inspiration from the filigree of lace design and include around 8 miles of bronze and stainless steel wire! The trunk and form of the leaf canopy were made by Carlton Sheet Metal and the wire used to form the canopies by Parsons of Colwick.
Watson Fothergill’s unique office at 15-17 George Street opened in 1895 and with its dark gothic look it really stands out on the street. The famous Victorian architect is credited as having had a great impact on the architecture of Nottingham and designed over a 100 buildings in the city, from offices, banks and warehouses, to churches and private dwelling houses. The building is a great contrast with the newer shops and buildings on George Street.
Heading over to Barker Gate and Stoney Street, Fothergill also designed the Cuckson, Hazeldine and Manderfield Warehouses from 1897-1898. Another fantastic building that’s still a big part of the area’s architectural heritage today. Fothergill’s easily recognisable style includes contrasting horizontal bands of red and blue brick, dark timber eaves and balconies and elaborate turrets and stone carving.
The Galleries of Justice
The Galleries of Justice is one of the oldest buildings in the area, with the site once being a Shire Hall used by the Normans to keep the peace and collect taxes. Now an independent museum, the building has a long history in crime and punishment, with courtrooms dating back to the 14th century, the gaol to at least 1449 and a Victorian courtroom, gaol and police station. Today, visitors to this popular Nottingham tourist attraction can discover what it’s like being a prisoner in days gone by. The hall was rebuilt by architect James Gandon in the 18th century and refurbished by architects Richard Charles Sutton, Richard Thomas Parker and Thomas Chambers Hine in the 19th century.
This beauty of a building at 14-18 Broad Street was built in 1839 by architect S.S. Rawlinson. Before it became the cinema we know and love today, it was the Broad Street Wesleyan Church, but it’s been a cinema since the 1960s. The first screening as Broadway Cinema was on 31 August 1990, and since then the building has benefited from over £8 million of redevelopment funding. Broadway has continued to expand, adding more cinemas and spaces like the Mezz bar and lounge and low-cost office space for artists and filmmakers. Screen 4 was designed by regular patron, Sir Paul Smith. The building really captures your attention with features like the amazingly talented artwork outside and giant mirror-like windows.
The People’s Hall
This interesting building at 18 Heathcote Street dates back to 1740 and was built by and for Anne Morley, the widow of Charles Morley – the proprietor of a pottery on Beck Street, whose high glazed pots are much sought after by collectors nowadays, with examples in the Castle Museum. The People’s Hall was originally a mansion house, and its magnificent staircase is considered one of the most beautiful in Nottingham. It was converted and altered in 1854 for George Gill, founder of People’s College. The red brick building has become an iconic feature of the area and really stands out amidst Heathcote Street’s range of quirky buildings.
St Mary’s Church
The beautiful Church of St Mary the Virgin on High Pavement is the oldest religious foundation in Nottingham City, the largest church after the Roman Catholic Cathedral and the largest mediaeval building. It’s also one of only five Grade 1 listed buildings in the city. Also known as St Mary’s in the Lace Market, the church is mentioned in the Domesday Book and is believed to date back to Saxon times. Over the centuries, the church has been owned by Lenton Priory, housed schools and even been home to the town fire engine. Sitting gracefully in the Lace Market, the way the trees and nature surround the church make it a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
There are also many architecture businesses in the area including:
Maber – architects is a multi-disciplinary architectural practice, employing 56 people across offices in Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, Birmingham and London. They designed the Richard III Centre in Leicester. Advanced manufacturing facility for Controls and Data Services, part of the Rolls Royce Group, Birmingham. Maber has a Creativity Budget allocated to each member of staff so that every year they can have some time and money to go out of the office to do something creative.
CMPG – Warser Gate, they’ve designed the new Life Sciences Discovery building on London Road. They will be designing the new Nottingham College building in front of Nottingham Contemporary.
Marchini Curran – High Pavement
Purcell – St Mary’s Gate
Allan Joyce – Bath Street
If you would like to explore these wonderful buildings and see what else you can find in the Creative Quarter, why not explore one or more of these trails…
Why not download the Explorers’ Guide to The Creative Quarter to discover more!