Breeding value with cultural intensification
Written by David Roberts
We welcomed the UK City of Culture judging panel to Sunderland recently. Whilst walking the judges past Siglion’s VAUX redevelopment and talking them through the scheme’s connections with Sunderland’s cultural sector, I reflected on the role igloo is playing through its various partnerships across the UK, bringing culture into the heart of placemaking.
The panel – Phil Redmond CBE, Suzanne Bond, Marcus Fairs and Dr Aideen McGinley OBE – woke up to an amazing sunrise in Roker and toured the various coastline and cultural assets. They arrived at the Keel Line to hear about Vaux and how Siglion, is working with the cultural sector long term to deliver strategic priorities including:
* Bringing dormant sites such as Vaux back into use.
* Creating a city centre that supports higher value jobs
* Offering a wider choice of housing to the market.
* Positioning Sunderland as a place to invest.
So how do we do this?
We talk a lot at igloo about ‘intensification’. We believe by turning the volume up on culture, we see good things happening.
We fully embrace the proposition that an intensification of cultural activities in cities, (and Sunderland is a great example), will accelerate improvements to the life and vitality of the city centre and thereby enable us to secure the delivery of new workspaces and homes at a faster rate than others, not just at Vaux but in other locations across the city and the UK.
We are active contributors to that intensification. For example, in Sunderland The Cultural Spring’s 10×10 programme delivered two astounding local artists-in-residence for Siglion. We now have a 3rd artist integrated into our design team at Seaburn, down on the coast. We’ve also adopted a ‘creative collaborators’ approach to design ‘The Launch’, introducing artists to work with our engineers, taking the brief for terminating the Keel line as a platform and instead delivering a stunning kinetic structure projecting over the cliff edge.
We invest for the long term. In real-estate, cultural activity breeds value, and in working with Siglion and the Sunderland Culture Co we have the structure and capacity to grasp the City of Culture 2021, multiply that investment and leverage long lasting benefit to Sunderland and the North East region.
For more information see here.