Matlock architects firm celebrate arts centre opening

The project extended a Grade II listed Georgian church.
The project extended a Grade II listed Georgian church.

A stunning new £6.6million arts centre designed by a Matlock architect and built by a Derbyshire firm has just opened in West Yorkshire.

Architecture practice Evans Vettori, whose offices are at Knowleston Place, was commissioned for the Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax.

The project involved extending a Grade II listed Georgian church to create a new 100 seat auditorium, 66 seat café bar, changing rooms and volunteer space.

Practice director Robert Evans said: “It is wonderful to finally see all the ideas become reality 12 years after starting work on this prestigious project.

“It has been a pleasure working with Wildgoose Construction, and to help them stamp the building as Made in Derbyshire.”

The design marries a traditional 18th century red brick building with concrete, aged-copper, wood and glass.

The entrance foyer also has a feature etched glass wall by architectural artist Sarah Galloway and provides access to the adjacent Piece Hall.

Bought by volunteers for £25 in 1988, the centre obtained a total of £6.6million including a £5m grant from Arts Council for England and community fundraising.

Alfreton-based Wildgoose, a firm started in Matlock, completed the build over 20 months - although it was delayed by a number of weeks when a graveyard was uncovered and hundreds of coffins and bodies and to be exhumed and reinterred after archaeologists performed a site dig.

Executive chairman Jonathan Wildgoose said: “This was a really challenging project, but the results are a stunning venue for the people of Halifax and we’re really proud of the part we played.”

A formal opening ceremony will be held in September.