Inverness Creative Academy

Client: Wasps Artists Studios

Wasps Studios is the UK’s largest not-for-profit provider of affordable creative workspace. In January 2018 it acquired two Category-B listed buildings in the centre of the Inverness and commissioned a design team, led by LDN Architects, to transform the buildings to provide artists’ studios, workspaces for creative industries, individuals and cultural social enterprises, as well as publicly accessible meeting, events, exhibition, café, and workshop space. It will be the largest sustainable creative arts facility and community resource of its type in the Highlands and has been developed with, and for, the local creative community.

The restoration, carried out by Robertson Construction Northern, has created 32 artist studios, a community run traditional darkroom, and a large events space in the former gym hall. Externally, an innovative approach was taken whereby existing fabrics and fixtures were reused and repurposed rather than removed and replaced. It also upgraded services in the building to make it universally accessible for the first time.

 Phase 1 is now home to 31 working visual artists and a darkroom group with 16 members. There has been huge interest and support from the local community and open day events during development, and since completion, have had record visitor numbers. 


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