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G O ‏‏‎ ‎B A C K ‏‏‎ ‎T O ‏‏‎ ‎P R O J E C T S

PolkeyCollins Associates have worked closely with Lincoln College to develop a solution to bring life back into the vacant Lincoln Drill Hall. The brief centred around the college and how the people of Lincoln can benefit from the use of the building and its facilities as a space for arts, culture and teaching. Earlier this year the Lincoln College Group secured ownership of the building with the plan to invest heavily in the space both as community hub for entertainment, but also as an extension to their current teaching offering.


The first phase of development tied in with the college's programme to run the 2021 Christmas pantomime. They therefore wanted to focus on the general public's user experience and how they use the building outside of the auditorium and ancillary spaces. This involved refurbishment across key areas such as the foyer, bar, box office, washrooms and restaurant. The first area we focused on was the box office as this is the first space users experience on entering the building.

The original box office utilised the space poorly and it felt cramped as the original desk projected far into the room and users often clashed in the space as they were arriving, using the box office or waiting for others. The proposal sets about creating an arrival where users are guided through the space and clear routes are defined by planters. The space also acts as a digital advertisement area showcasing "what's on" and the ability to collect tickets from kiosks or the box office. 

The material and finishes selection centred around the college's rebranding strategy. The Drill Hall already had a fantastic foyer with decorative masonry detailing and a double height space which created a grand sense of arrival. We decided to focus on using contemporary finishes, and using a range of rich colours and textures to reference the golden age of theatre. The materials were sympathetic to the college's budget and provided a look, suitable for traditional theatre performances but also for their expanded entertainment programme. relocated the bar to the foyer space to best utilise the flow of people from the auditorium and create a space to congregate and meet.  

Rebranding imagery courtesy of Optima Graphic Design Consultants Ltd.

“We’re thrilled to be breathing new life into this iconic local landmark. The Drill will soon be ready to welcome you back for your favourite events and enthralling evening entertainment. We’ve completely transformed the venue, amplifying the best things about it and creating some really impressive new features. We’ll host everything from the best live music and theatre, through to stand-up comedy, business expos, food and drink festivals, and conferences – the list goes on! We also have an amazing new restaurant, stylish café and a fantastic bar, making this a vibrant arts, entertainment and community hub that’s open for everyone to enjoy. One of the things people loved most about Lincoln Drill Hall was its commitment to supporting the people, groups and communities of Lincoln, and we’re proud to continue in this tradition when we reopen. The Drill can be used as a meeting space for community groups, we’ll host a huge range of classes, workshops and activities, including our popular parent and child groups, and we’ll continue being a safe, accessible and welcoming space at the heart of the community.”

Mark Taylor - Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Lincoln College Group speaking to the Lincolnite 2021.

The building exterior forms part of the phase 2 works and beyond, and is currently in development. There are opportunities to create a space for events, gatherings and community projects. The proposal seeks to rejuvenate the hard landscaped area to create a welcoming space for visitors and guests. The aesthetics of the entrance has been guided by the rebrand.

PolkeyCollins were pleased to work with Lincoln College, Lindum and the wider design and site teams to deliver this great project. We are excited to see the Drill flourish as an entertainment and community hub as this great institution and piece of Lincoln history is back open to the public once again. 


The PolkeyCollins design and delivery team responsible for the Drill project. Overseen by director Daniel Collins. 





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