Outdoor arts and engineering combine for Daimler Powerhouse building handover.
Live events production company Imagineer commissioned a special aerial dance to mark the completion – on time and on budget – of building works on the £2.5 million Daimler Powerhouse in Coventry. Aerialists Luka Owen and Daniel Connor performed with a fork lift truck, in a nod to Daimler’s engineering past, as the key to the building was handed from Robert Wigley from the Wigley Group to Roger Medwell, Chair of Imagineer’s Board.
Led by Imagineer, the purpose-built Daimler Powerhouse Creation Centre will focus primarily on outdoor arts and provide much needed and dedicated fully accessible spaces for the production of outdoor and site-specific work becoming part of a network of growing national and international creation centres.
The £2.5million creative hub has been funded through £1.9 million from the Cultural Capital Investment Fund which is resourced from Coventry City Council and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal. The Wigley Group, which owns Sandy Lane Business Park and have undertaken the development work, have contributed an additional £350,000 as well as agreeing a highly-discounted twenty-year lease on Daimler Powerhouse, as well as a neighbouring building, as part of the redevelopment. Additional funding has been raised from The Foyle Foundation, Medwell-Hyde, The Garfield Weston Foundation and The May 29th 1961 Charitable Trust.
With building works complete, the interior of the creation centre will be completed over the coming months. £150,000 from Arts Council England will ensure state of the art infrastructure is embedded within the building including a sound recording studio and edit suite, as well as a newly installed Sprung Dance Floor and Vertical Dance Wall.
Roger Medwell, Chair of the Board for Godiva Awakes Trust said: “It really is testament to the dedication of our partners and funders that, even during these challenging times, building works are complete on time and on budget.
“The Wigley Group have done a fantastic job of preserving and maintaining the heritage of the building whilst also creating a modern and accessible space that will support not just Imagineer and the resident companies but the outdoor arts sector as a whole.
“Daimler Powerhouse will be a space for future generations of artists and creative engineers and it is wonderful to see the building coming to life again.”
The Daimler Building has long had a reputation as a centre of excellence from the manufacture of the first bicycle, the location of the first car factory in Britain to the creators of the first Fork Lift Truck and as a specialist engine factory for high-performance engines powering four F1 World Champions. Now, Coventry will once again lead the way nationally, and internationally, Daimler Powerhouse will be a creative centre of excellence combining art, environment, engineering and social change.
Cllr David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said: “The redevelopment of Daimler Powerhouse is a really important example of the city’s past and it’s future, and the investment the council, and so many other partners, are putting into cultural venues in the city.
“It’s a building that has been a part of the city’s landscape for many years and it will be great to see artists using the Powerhouse to create, innovate and share their art with others. This is one of a number of important capital schemes that are either underway or near completion and it will be wonderful to see the venue close-up.”
As well as providing a home for Imagineer’s innovative education and training programmes aimed at young people and people with disabilities, The Daimler Powerhouse will also be home to five resident companies Imagineer, Highly Sprung, Media Mania, Open Theatre and Talking Birds.
Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said, “We are delighted to have invested National Lottery funding to help restore the Daimler Building back to its former glory and to be supporting a state of the art space for Imagineer and other local artists to create work.
“As Coventry gears up for its year as City of Culture, places like the Daimler Powerhouse will play a crucial role in nurturing the talent and producing the work that the city has to offer, especially after what has been a very challenging time for all of us. Now that we’re hopefully on the road to recovery, we look forward to this unique space inspiring many future generations of creative people.”
Daimler Powerhouse will open to the public in August 2021 as part of Coventry’s UK City of Culture Programme with a weekend of special events, performances and opportunities to visit the building.
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