Students helping to design centre

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ARCHITECTURE students have been invited to get involved with the conversion of Stowmarket’s corn exchange into the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts.

The centre has joined up with the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) and the Suffolk Association of Architects to run a competition inviting students to submit design ideas for part of the building.

The corn exchange is part-way through being transformed into an innovative new creative arts space for the community and a venue for music, theatre, dance and art.

The competition requires students to design a mezzanine floor inside the building which can provide a practice and workshop area, a café or bar and a top-quality practice and performance space.

Sheila Ravenscroft, John Peel’s widow and patron of the project, said: “John was passionate about helping people to develop and fulfil their ambitions – inviting architecture students to get involved was just one way of ensuring these principles were embedded in the project.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing the students’ designs.”

The competition closes on Thursday, with an assessment panel meeting to review the submissions after Easter.

The architects behind the John Peel Centre, Martindales Architects Ltd, will then work with the winning student to incorporate the winning design into the overall project.

An exhibition of the student entries will be held at the centre on May 21 and 22.

The team behind the centre were thrilled when they received £50,000 funding from the People’s Millions last year to fund the first phase of development.

Although the next phase of the conversion is not yet funded, the project is through to the final round of Biffaward’s flagship grant programme, which could provide £500,000 towards the work.