Nottingham Contemporary, designed by architects Caruso St John, was constructed on the oldest site in the city, home to a Saxon fort, a medieval Town Hall, and finally a late Victorian railway cutting. The exterior of the Centre takes its inspiration from the 19th century buildings of Nottingham, and in particular, from the impressive façades of the adjacent Lace Market.At 3,000 square metres, the building is one of the largest contemporary art centres in the UK. It has four galleries - lit by 132 skylights – a performance and film space, a learning room, The Study, The Shop and a Café Bar.
The building appears larger on the inside than outside, since much of its north end is sunk into the sandstone cliff that runs the length of the city centre. At the same time the building is unusually transparent: large windows offer direct views from the street into the galleries, shop, café and offices.
Charcoalblue has worked with Caruso St John to try to bring the feeling of a "found space" to the performance space, as well as ensuring that the technical infrastructure can provide for both art exhibitions, events and performance.