Physics body unveils plans to turn former Cally Road bar into AI hub

An artist's impression of the Institute of Physics' vision for its Caledonian Road HQ

An artist's impression of the Institute of Physics' vision for its Caledonian Road HQ - Credit: Institute of Physics

The UK's professional body for physics has shared its plans to transform a former cocktail bar in Cally Road into a community learning hub.

The Institute of Physics (IOP) wants to extend its current HQ, which sits on the corner with Balfe Street, into a third floor extension on top of the two-storey Victorian building at 33 Caledonian Road.

It also wants to turn the the building it bought three years ago into a publicly available ‘makerspace’.

The Institute of Physics' Caledonian Road HQ and the building next door at number 33 which it wants to renovate

The Institute of Physics' Caledonian Road HQ and the building next door at number 33 which it wants to renovate - Credit: Google

Since moving to Islington, the IOP has hosted a plethora of community events from a children’s science conference to family-friendly exhibitions, run homework clubs and invited students from City and Islington College to build a cosmic ray detector built on its roof. 

Now the charity hopes to do even more to raise public awareness and understanding of physics through the redevelopment. 


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The IOP has visions to create an "exciting, free-to-use, tech-focused space where people can come together with friends and can get involved with science and engineering, and where younger local residents can discover the many diverse career opportunities a technical career can offer".

The Institute of Physics has plans to create a new 'makerspace' at its Caledonian Road HQ

A young girl soldering - one of the activities that could be on offer at the Institute of Physics' new 'makerspace' at its Caledonian Road HQ - Credit: Institute of Physics

Technicians and apprentices would run the new spaces, which would be equipped with computer coding facilities and high-specification computers to teach key coding languages for use in gaming software, AI, machine learning and augmented reality. 

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A spokesperson said: "The IOP’s makerspace will inspire people to grow their skills and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and entrepreneurism. 

"It will enable the local community to get hands-on with electronics, engineering, 3D printing, 3D modelling software and robotics."

The Institute of Physics' Caledonian Road HQ

The Institute of Physics' Caledonian Road HQ - Credit: Google

A council planning committee is expected to make a decision on the project later in 2021.

If given the go ahead, works are expected to commence in autumn 2021 and take roughly 12-18 months to complete.

An online Zoom Q&A about the proposals with the architects and project team takes place at 4pm on July 1. 

For more details see iop.org/about/contact-us/33cr.

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