Matthew Loosley, a second year architecture student from Suffolk, has been recognised by the management board of the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts (JPCCA) by winning a student design ideas competition for part of the conversion of the historic Stowmarket Corn Exchange into a vibrant arts venue. The Corn Exchange has been renamed the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in honour of the legendary broadcaster and author who lived in the area.
The JPCCA joined forces with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA East) and the Suffolk Association of Architects to run the competition for part of the building conversion. The competition, which was launched at the end of March, asked students to design a mezzanine floor inside the building to provide a practice and workshop area, a café/bar, and to create a top-quality practice and performance space.
20 year old Matthew studied at Stowupland high school and sixth form college before leaving Suffolk to study architecture at the University of Huddersfield, where he is currently nearing the end of his second year. Commenting on his success, Matthew said, “It normally takes at least seven years training to become an architect, so I feel privileged to be part of the design team on such a prestigious local project at such an early stage in my education.”
Speaking about the project, Sheila Ravenscroft said, “This competition has created a great opportunity for an architecture student to participate in a truly exciting project. We were most impressed with the high standard of all of the entrants – and Matthew’s designs were selected as they really caught our imagination. We would like to thank the RIBA, the Suffolk Association of Architects and all our consultants who supported the competition and Matthew throughout.”
Matthew, who was told of his success three weeks ago, has since gone on to work with appointed project architects Martindales of Cambridge to incorporate his winning design into the overall scheme. This has now been submitted as part of the bid in the final round of Biffawards Flagship Grant programme which could provide up to £500,000 funding towards this phase of the works.
Nick Bryant, director of Martindales, said “Matt has done an excellent job fitting in the design for the JPCCA within his university work commitment. Once he had been confirmed as the winner of the competition Matt spent a day in our offices discussing the brief and his concept design Over the next two weeks we worked with Matt and other members of the design team refining the design for the Biffawards bid. If the funding bid is successful and the project moves forward we will continue to work with Matt during the detailed design process, subject to his availability outside his university course work.”
Louise Todd, Regional Director for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA East), commented “I was delighted when RIBA East and the Suffolk Association were approached by the JPCCA to help organise this opportunity for architecture students. It is such a worthwhile community project and it was heartening to see so much work put in by the students at a time when they are all busy on their end of year work. I congratulate Matthew on his success and would also like to thank Pick Everard in Bury St Edmunds who kindly provided Matthew with desk space and support over the Easter holidays to enable him to work on his entry.”