London’s Canada Water is to have permanent cultural venue

A permanent cultural venue is set to be created at the Printworks building within British Land’s Canada Water development in London, the group announced yesterday.

The Printworks at Canada Water

Through a six-year temporary consent, Printworks London, managed by Broadwick, the electronic music and arts operator, evolved into a well-known cultural venue before closing its doors to the public last summer. Now British Land and pension company AustralianSuper have submitted a reserved matters planning application to reinstate the new venue and are in exclusive talks with Broadwick to operate it.

“We want to deliver a permanent world-class cultural venue at Printworks that builds on its globally acclaimed legacy,” said Emma Cariaga, joint head of Canada Water, British Land. “Printworks had a tremendous impact on the UK’s cultural landscape, and its popularity over the past six years has demonstrated how important this multi-dimensional venue is to Londoners and visitors from all over the world. We look forward to progressing our plans to deliver the new Printworks as part of our wider Canada Water masterplan.”

Since opening in 2017, Printworks saw more than 2.5 million visitors, 300 music concerts, 200 film shoots, and hosted hundreds more cultural events. 

The interior of the building

With the new application, British Land and AustralianSuper aim to deliver a highly flexible leisure and cultural destination within the Canada Water masterplan that expands on the success of the venue, with a programme that both intensifies and diversifies the mix of cultural experiences. This new permanent venue will occupy one half of the existing building, while the other half will deliver next generation sustainable workspace and retail, known as The Grand Press.

The designs, led by architects Hawkins\Brown, seek to maintain the building’s volume and character while creating a highly sustainable and modern cultural venue. Once home to the largest printing factory in western Europe known as Harmsworth Quays, the original aesthetics and printing presses have been preserved to create an industrial environment, overlooking a new 3.5-acre park just a short distance from the River Thames and the historic docks.

There are four key new cultural spaces planned at the new Printworks, which is scheduled to reopen in 2026: the Press Halls would remain the focal point of the complex, hosting live music events, concerts, immersive art exhibitions and corporate events. Within the Press Hall, there will be a series of new suites with flexible space for meetings, conferences, events and corporate hospitality.

A brand-new rooftop leisure and cultural space with extensive views over London will provide a space for performances, rehearsals, product launches or curated talks. The Inkwells will be a performance space dedicated to immersive exhibitions, multi-disciplinary art shows and more intimate music events.