Creating flexible, open-hearted and inviting spaces

The Maclaines Warehouses, sitting between the River Exe and the canal basin, are a string of beautiful, robust brick and timber buildings with a deep historic past and huge future potential. We have worked closely with the Bike Shed to explore, with the minimum of deft interventions, how these wonderful richly textured buildings can be sensitively upgarded to provide the artistic community of Exeter with a flexible, open hearted and inviting set of spaces for performance, music visual arts, indoor markets  and social spaces. The designs are to make the spaces better interconnected, fitted out with power and data, thermally upgraded and made fully accessible whilst retaining their rich “found” materiality, to to give a loose fit adaptable series of spaces that can hold a rich tapestry of uses. A new extension, facing the approach from city centre, takes its form from the former “Mitchell & Sons” building, will be a more open, light and airy double height foyer space and cafe bar with a stair up to a 250 seat double height auditorium on the first floor. The warehouses will have a wide range of scale spaces over 3 floors, informally interconnected giving an open invitation to artists and the community to come in and explore.

Roger Watts, Design Director of Haworth Tompkins architects