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
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.”