Culture Southampton

Cultural Quarter

The Cultural Quarter is central to Southampton’s social and economic regeneration programme. It creates a vibrant, dynamic and cultural heart to the city. It is an area alive with arts, heritage, entertainment, events and music, framed within dramatic architecture.

The restoration of Guildhall Square, and most recently the opening of Sea City Museum, have added to and complement existing cultural landmarks which make up the Cultural Quarter, building on an already strong heritage of heritage and arts activity.

Completion of the new arts complex will provide the final physical piece in the Cultural Quarter ‘jigsaw’.

When completed, the Quarter will transform Southampton into a leading arts and cultural destination, bringing vital benefits for residents and visitors, business and tourism:

  • Generating over 2,000 jobs and £21m additional spend annually
  • Raising educational attainment and skills
  • Improving staff recruitment and retention
  • Helping to bring in around £175m of private and public investment.

Studio 144 is situated on Guildhall Square, alongside Southampton City Art Gallery, SeaCity Museum, Showcase Gallery and the O2 Guildhall, at the heart of the city’s burgeoning Cultural Quarter. The venue will consist of two adjacent, landmark buildings, framing Guildhall Square and the entrance to Southampton’s Grade II* listed central parks. Cafés and shops at street level creating a lively destination day and night.

The project was born of the partners’ belief in the power of the arts to transform people, places and communities, and an understanding that cultural infrastructure capital is an important part of this.

Alongside providing a warm welcome, the venue will also offer new economic and social benefits to local communities across the city. In all, the project represents an investment of £40 million into the built environment, infrastructure and lifestyle of the city. It is fundamental to developing the economy of Southampton’s city centre as well as the wider city and region. Its development has provided over 300 direct jobs, and will bring 750,000 added visitors to the city each year.

The opening of Studio 144 marks the completion of the ambitious Cultural Quarter, a major master planning and infrastructure investment programme that will transform Southampton’s city centre. Creating more than 2,000 jobs and an additional £21million of visitor spend in Southampton each year it will play a vital part in nurturing a creative and prosperous economy in the city and across the South West.

The new cultural hub and social space created by Studio 144 and the surrounding public spaces is being created in partnership with complementary leisure, retail, residential and hospitality activities, including those creating an attractive, distinctive and vibrant place with culture and people at its heart. These changes will improve the night time economy, making Southampton’s city centre a more enticing and welcoming place for a broad range of people from all backgrounds to visit and spend time.

Studio 144 will act as a further cultural catalyst to the regeneration of Southampton; driving inward investment and further development in the city centre and making the city ideally placed to attract business that will add significant value to the economy of Southampton.

Southampton boasts two leading universities, the University of Southampton and Solent University, at its heart and a bustling student body of approximately 40,000. Creating a city that can increasingly attract and retain workers in knowledge and creative sectors as well as innovative entrepreneurs is vital in the continued development of Southampton. The role of innovative partnerships between cultural organisations, the City Council and the universities is at the heart of this place making, and place making in Southampton has culture at its heart.

Gain more background information about the Cultural Quarter project:

City Centre VIP projects

Key to Cultural Quarter drawing:
1 The Mayflower Theatre

2 BBC South Broadcasting House

3 SeaCity Museum

4 City Art Gallery

5 Guildhall

6 City Library and Archives

7 Guildhall Square

8 Southampton Solent University Sir James Matthews Building

9 Solent Showcase

10 One Guildhall Square

11 Studio 144 - Southampton's New Arts Complex

12 Historic City Centre parks – grade II listed

13 The Stage Door 

14 The Art House Cafe

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