British Land and AustralianSuper submit application to revive Printworks as a permanent cultural venue

British Land and AustralianSuper have submitted a reserved matters planning application to reinstate a permanent cultural venue at the Printworks building within its Canada Water development.

Through a six-year temporary consent, Printworks London – managed by pioneering electronic music and arts operator Broadwick – evolved into one of the world’s best-known cultural venues before closing its doors to the public this summer. British Land and AustralianSuper are in exclusive talks with Broadwick to operate the new venue. Since opening in 2017, Printworks saw more than 2.5 million visitors, 300 music concerts, 200 film shoots, and hosted hundreds more cultural moments at the site, cementing its place in UK cultural history. 

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 meanwhile use venue, with a programme that both intensifies and diversifies the mix of cultural experiences. This new world-class 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 a stunning, industrial environment, all overlooking a new 3.5-acre park just a short distance from the River Thames and historic docks.

There are four key new cultural spaces planned at the new Printworks, which is scheduled to reopen in 2026: 

  • Printworks’ world-renowned Press Halls will be retained. The iconic space that has become globally synonymous with the Printworks brand will be kept with the Press Halls remaining the focal point of the Printworks’ programme. Live music events, concerts, immersive art exhibitions and corporate events of similar capacity will be hosted here
  • A brand-new rooftop leisure and cultural space. This new state-of-the-art event space – complete with soaring views of London – will provide a unique space for performance, rehearsals, product launches or curated talks
  • The Inkwells. A performance space dedicated to immersive exhibitions, multi-disciplinary art shows and more intimate music events 
  • A series of new suites with views of the Press Halls. These will offer versatile spaces for meetings, conferences, events, and corporate hospitality
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Emma Cariaga, joint head of Canada Water at British Land, said: “We want to deliver a permanent world-class cultural venue at Printworks that builds on its globally acclaimed legacy. Combining the best of the capital’s culture with next generation workspace at The Grand Press will create an unrivalled experiential destination, which generations will benefit from for years to come.

“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 who were drawn to its cutting-edge programming. We’re extremely proud to be the stewards of this important cultural destination, and we look forward to progressing our plans to deliver the new Printworks as part of our wider Canada Water masterplan.”

AustralianSuper’s head of Real Assets for Europe, Paul Clark, said: “Printworks will be a cultural centre piece to a major placemaking project that reflects both the long-term nature of AustralianSuper’s capital and our ongoing commitment to London and the UK.

“We believe this strategic project will provide long-term benefits to AustralianSuper members, as well as enhancing the cultural offering at Canada Water and contributing positively to the local community.”

Simeon Aldred, co-owner and director of strategy at Broadwick Live, commented: “Broadwick Group is delighted to continue our exclusive partnership with British Land and AustralianSuper for the highly anticipated next phase of Printworks London. The preservation and repurposing of the cherished Press Halls, coupled with the profound cultural implications of this undertaking, represent our joint commitment to the advancement of culture in the capital.

“We eagerly anticipate engaging with our community and wider audiences on this groundbreaking cultural investment of global significance. Their ongoing support is paramount to the revival of Printworks London for both local, national and international audiences to enjoy.

London Night Czar Amy Lamé added: “Printworks was a fantastic addition to London’s world-renowned cultural scene, attracting people from all around the globe and setting new and ambitious standards for all to follow. I’ve worked closely with the operator and owner, and I’m thrilled by these inspiring new plans to create an incredible permanent venue. This will be an exciting new chapter as we build a better London for everyone.”

Other notable cultural plans and initiatives at Canada Water include:

  • Asif Khan-designed Canada Dock boardwalk – a key piece of architecture designed that will attract visitors to the 170m-long red bridge
  • New public square – brand new open space the size of Leicester Square, surrounded by leisure and retail
  • ‘The Cuts’ – pedestrianised, highly-curated leisure and retail space with unique independent shops and F&B designed to feel akin to Brighton’s The Lanes, and London’s Seven Dials
  • Careful curation of the 1 million sq ft leisure and retail across the masterplan including daytime and nighttime lifestyle – a truly 24-hour high street
  • Thoughtful and engaging meanwhile use: artist Rod Kitson’s gallery, and community environmental education hub the Paper Garden are two current examples
  • Ongoing cultural events and activations for the local community, enriching the use of existing spaces: Love Summer, an annual community festival with live music and creative workshops; Christmas activations; the weekly Canada Water Market which offers fresh and sustainable food from local producers and artisans; and the monthly Thrive market which provides a regular platform to showcase talented local traders
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