Based in Redruth, Krowji – meaning workshop in Cornish – is a creative hub which comprises studios, offices, meeting rooms, workspaces and associated facilities.
Housed within the Old Grammar School building, Krowji provides a platform for businesses to develop and thrive and is home to many leading and up and coming businesses.
Krowji workspaces come in all shapes and sizes and at present provide space for more than 100 creative businesses, including Marie Louise Denny and Miracle Theatre. Other businesses which have found a permanent home in the Krowji family include Cornwall’s key arts sector agencies Creative Skills, Feast, Carn to Cove and the new cultural tourism initiative, Cultural Cornwall.
To further the offering at Krowji, a £3.7 million project designed to expand facilities has recently been implemented. The work – which reaches completion in May 2015 – includes the construction of two new landmark structures which will sit alongside the existing 1907 Old Grammar School to form one large site.
During the course of the work the school building has been preserved; however the site’s dilapidated post-war canteen and gym have been removed to make way for the new additions. CGS Contractors was responsible for the demolition works, as well as the construction of a new access road.
Those new addition to the site will not only provide Krowji with double the space it currently has, but will also benefit from fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.
The expansion project was devised by a Krowji team led by founder Ross Williams, who has made it his life’s work to support and encourage Cornwall’s creative energies through the Arts Council-backed social enterprise, ACT.
“We’ve been working on this project for so long it hardly seems possible that our dreams for Krowji are about to become reality.”
Krowji is passionate about forging and nurturing strong links with the wider community and over the years has worked closely with Cornwall Council, Camborne Pool Redruth (CPR) Regeneration and a wide variety of people and organisations. Through these links to the community, Krowji has created a vibrant centre where people can come and go freely for coffee, meetings, live music nights and events.
“The vibrant atmosphere that’s evolved here over the last ten years is extremely precious and any change has to enhance that. We’ve been very patient in devising a truly sustainable scheme where the new will perfectly complement the old. To see it actually happening at last is a very proud moment for us all.”
The Krowji project is being made possible through a mix of privately sourced funding and through the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme. To bring this project to fruition, the Krowji team are working with project managers, Vickery Holman, who have been responsible for producing the business plan for the scheme.
Senior Surveyor for Vickery Holman, Dan Cape, said:
“Krowji took over the site when it was in a derelict state and they worked hard to bring the Old Grammar School up to date in order to create a creative cluster. For Krowji to now be able to provide yet more space, allowing them to develop this site further, is just great.”
“For us it is good to be able to work closely with Krowji, as it allows us to work out exactly what they want to see inside. We have selected local contractors on the project and this is also proving very successful as we know them and know that they are capable of delivering.”
Local construction company, R.M Developments Ltd is the main contractor on the Krowji project. Established in 1999, R.M Developments Ltd places quality at the forefront of all its projects and has previously delivered a range of schemes from starter homes to industrial units.
The new buildings on the Krowji project are being created with impeccable eco-credentials and have been designed to meet the needs of their creatively-minded tenants. The buildings are linked by a glass bridge, which leaves a ‘keyhole’ view to the sea from a new courtyard garden.
High quality landscape specialists Iron Orchid Landscapes is delivering all landscaping works on the Krowji project.
Commenting on their involvement, Michael Talbot from Iron Orchid Landscapes, said:
“Iron Orchid Landscapes were proud to be selected to fulfil the landscape design contract for the new development at Krowji Arts Centre in Redruth, Cornwall. Through close discussion with the clients we have developed a dynamic interaction between the 19th Century granite Old Grammar School and the contemporary new studio building.
“Referencing the region’s rich mining heritage and the creative heart and soul of the Krowji Centre, Iron Orchids Landscapes is providing innovative landscaping that is both unique and reactionary to this thriving creative hub for Cornwall.”
For more information about Krowji, its work and partners, please visit: www.krowjinewbuild.org.uk.