Manchester based architects, Buttress have been appointed as the design team who will produce the architectural plans, with listed building consent, up to RIBA stage 3, to begin the transformation of The Exchange into a cultural and community hub for the town centre.

John James McGregor, Chair of the Trustees said: “In appointing Buttress, we found the team to be relatable in style and share many of the same values we hold highly. The trustees were unanimous in appreciating their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for the project and welcome their knowledge and experience of heritage funds and the grants environment.

“This appointment is a very important milestone in the journey for us as a team and we were keen to ensure we partnered with the team with the very best fit and expertise to deliver brilliant outcomes for our project.”

Grant Prescott, Associate at Buttress grew up in Blackburn and still lives within the borough.

He said: “We acknowledge how important the project will be in creating exciting and sustainable new uses for this landmark building, and in playing an integral part in the fulfilment, wellbeing and transformation of Blackburn.

“I have fond memories of The Exchange under its previous guises as the Unit 4 (and later Apollo) Cinema, from childhood in the 1980s until the building’s closure in the 2000s. I also recall many a family meal downstairs in Tiggis’ Restaurant. Being able to enter The Exchange during recent events such as Festivals of Making and Textile Biennials, and seeing the fantastic interiors revealed was an incredible experience.

“I retain a strong passion for the architecture and heritage of my hometown, and as such I feel a genuine emotional pull towards this fantastic building. Our team are hugely enthusiastic about a new chapter being added to its history for the benefit of the people of Blackburn and beyond.

“We recognise that the building is a Blackburn landmark, and through its previous uses the people of the town hold their own individual and collective connections to the place.

“Re:Source’s fantastic work since taking on the building, bringing forward exciting and varied programmes of events and new uses, underlines the incredible potential for the Exchange to become a cultural and community hub.

“We are hugely excited by this project and the opportunity to work with Re:Source to deliver their vision for the Exchange, for the benefit of Blackburn and the wider community.”

Pictured are the team from Buttress with the Re:Source trustees at the inception meeting.