From education to employment

University of Kent selects architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios for new creative space in Medway


The University of Kent’s Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (iCCi) is pleased to announce the selection of the multi-award winning Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCB Studios) as architects for The Docking Station, its new creative industries’ accelerator space on Medway’s Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Located between the University’s Pembroke campus and its Historic Dockyard premises, this development will place creative and cultural industries at the heart of the regeneration plans for the last remaining undeveloped part of the former Dockyard site. Its facilities will include a community café and social spaces, gallery and exhibition spaces, workshops, flexible teaching areas, a state-of-the-art immersive digital interactive space and start-up/accelerator zone.

The project will involve the conversion of the Homes England-owned Police Section House – a Grade II listed Scheduled Ancient Monument at The Historic Dockyard – into a flagship building designed to inspire future development in the region and beyond. 

A key project within Creative Estuary’s four-year programme to transform 60 miles of the Thames Estuary across Essex and Kent into one of the most exciting cultural hubs in the world, The Docking Station is supported by Cultural Development Fund investment from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.  

Kent’s partners in the development are Medway Council and Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. All three partners see The Docking Station as a key opportunity to support the delivery of Medway’s new Cultural Strategy, which sets out the area’s vision to develop and improve its cultural offer, as well as provide more opportunities for Medway’s residents. The ambitious 10-year strategy also sets out Medway’s aim to be nationally and internationally recognised for the area’s creativity and culture.

Professor Catherine Richardson, Director of iCCi, said: ‘We were very excited to receive the design proposals from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, one of the UK’s leading architectural practices. We look forward to working with their team on delivering a social and environmentally responsible building that will encourage, stimulate and support creativity across the Medway region.’

John Southall, Partner from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, said: ‘The Docking Station at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, is a project with the potential to make an enormous and catalytic contribution to the development of the emerging cultural quarter, and we are very excited to contribute our skills and experience. The essence of the project will be to imbue a sense of the history and permanence of Chatham Dockyard, contrasted with the evolving digital technologies and creations. This contrast will be linked to, and surrounded by, nature and the human interaction with it. We are committed to net zero carbon and will give this a clear sense of design priority.’

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: ‘We are very pleased to be working with the University of Kent, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios on this exciting project, which will support Medway’s fantastic creative sector. Last week it was announced that the project would also benefit from Medway’s share of £14.4 million funding from the government’s Levelling Up Fund, which will provide further opportunities for economic growth and create job opportunities for local residents and graduates. The investment also supports the establishment of Chatham as Medway’s city centre as well as Medway’s cultural strategy, which is being delivered by Creative Medway. We look forward to watching the innovative plans for The Docking Station progress.’

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