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Tuesday, April 16, 2024


DLA Architecture has completed works on the redesign of the historic Shot Tower in Chester and handed over the completed scheme.

The site of the prominent landmark building has been transformed into a 72 unit residential-led development by Manchester based developer Whitecroft Group. The significant redevelopment incorporates the restoration of grade II* listed industrial heritage buildings together with new-build elements.

The 168 ft tall Shot Tower is located alongside the Shropshire Union canal and in the heart of Chester city centre. It is the only surviving leadworks of its kind, dating back to the 18th century and was one of the earliest lead shot manufacturing sites to utilise the method pioneered in the 1780’s by inventor William Watts for British muskets during the Napoleonic Wars. The lead works officially closed in 2001 when lead engineering specialists Calder relocated to Chester West Employment Park.

The site redevelopment has been subject to much scrutiny over its future and conservation. DLA was asked to design a scheme that would reinstate the Shot Tower as a celebrated Chester landmark and the site as an integral part of the wider regeneration of the city and the Boughton Canalside Conservation Area.

Jonathan Knowles, Director at the Manchester office of DLA Architecture, said,

“Our brief was to deliver a high-quality design that was commercially viable and market facing whilst fully recognising and utilising the existing Shot Tower. The site has been abandoned for some time and the tower contributed to heavy contamination and as such there were several technical issues to overcome alongside archaeological sensitivities.

“We have worked very closely with the team at Whitecroft Group and had positive consultations with local interest groups, the local authority planning department and Heritage England to arrive at a scheme that reflects the industrial heritage of the former lead-works using a palette of copper and grey standing seam metal cladding and Cheshire red brick.”

DLA has delivered a high specification scheme of one, two and three-bedroom apartments and duplex apartments alongside three, four-bedroom family orientated townhouses. The homes are situated across the new-build and listed elements with new public realm connecting the north and south side of the Shropshire Union Canal with the new business quarter and the rail station.

David Giovanni, Managing Director at Whitecroft Group, said,

“We were delighted to work with DLA Architecture in the redevelopment of Shot Tower. The team demonstrated considerable expertise in restoration and conservation, helping us to navigate the many challenges to arrive at an impressive design that retains much originality.

Despite the many challenges, including the main contractor going into administration halfway through the project as well as the Pandemic, we were able to complete a scheme that we are all very proud of.”

DLA Architecture is an award-winning practice which employs over 80 architects, landscape architects, technologists, and graphic designers. Established over 40 years ago the practice has offices in Manchester, Leeds and London. Its expertise covers a broad range of sector including workplace, homes, learning, sport, industry, retail, and re-use.

DLA has considerable expertise in designing new community spaces and housing. It recently completed the award-winning Hackney Gardens, a significant £21 million project comprising community space and housing in London. It is also appointed on Equipment Works in London, the Broadway in Wimbledon, Kelly’s Yard in Hepburn and St Cecilia Place, which is the redevelopment of the landmark Quarry Hill flats in Leeds city centre.

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