Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

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Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

A slatted timber concert hall bulges through the glass atrium walls of this performing arts college in Cardiff by London studio BFLS.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by Joe Clark

The 450-seat timber auditorium occupies one of three new blocks at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, which adjoin an existing building on the park-side site.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by Joe Clark

A triple-height atrium and exhibition hall connects the separate blocks under a single metal roof.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

A bridge across the foyer links the recital hall with a 180-seat theatre in a curved stone-clad block opposite.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by Joe Clark

The third new block, which abuts the existing college building, houses a café and bar on the ground floor and a movement studio above.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by BFLS

BFLS are best-known for designing the Strata tower in south London, which last year was awarded as the ugliest building in the UK - see our earlier Dezeen Wire here.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by BFLS

Photography is by Nick Guttridge, apart from where otherwise stated.

Here's some more information from BFLS:


Transformed Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama opens its doors to students

The newly completed Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff – Wales’ national music and drama conservatoire – opens to a new intake of students this month.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by Joe Clark

Won in international competition in 2007, the scheme comprises an acoustically excellent 450‐seat chamber recital hall (the ‘Dora Stoutzker Hall’), a 180‐ seat theatre (the ‘Richard Burton Theatre’), four rehearsal studios, an exhibition gallery (the ‘Linbury Gallery’) as well as generous foyer areas, a terrace overlooking Bute Park and a new Café Bar.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

The £22.5m project is funded by a grant from the Welsh Government, loan finance and £4m of philanthropic donations. The scheme has been designed to be BREEAM ‘excellent’.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

The new buildings are situated within the Grade I listed Bute Park. Directly across the road from the new building is Cathays Park, the civic centre of Cardiff, consisting of a number of important listed buildings.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

As Jason Flanagan, Project Director explains: ‘Our approach was two‐fold, to design the internal performance spaces from the ‘inside out’, looking at their acoustic and theatrical functionality as major drivers, whilst in parallel designing from the ‘outside in’, thinking about the civic presence of the building in its urban context.’

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by Joe Clark

Hilary Boulding, RWCMD Principal, adds: ‘These new facilities have completely transformed the College. They have inspired our staff and students, and provided us with the very best facilities in which to train our talented young artists and arts practitioners.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by Joe Clark

Furthermore, the new development is rapidly becoming a major new landmark in Wales’ capital city, attracting new audiences to the College and in doing so, helping to significantly raise our profile.’

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

The design focuses on the core needs of the College community, namely an acoustically impressive sequence of performance and learning spaces which will encourage and inspire the College’s students.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by Joe Clark

The client was very specific from the outset that the new buildings should act as a catalyst for positive cultural change and help foster greater artistic collaboration across the institution.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by Joe Clark

Although the building appears to be a single structure it is in fact three separate new buildings and a renovated existing structure. Each performance space has been conceived separately, the individual components of the building united under a single floating roof, its height determined by the theatre fly‐tower.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

The drama building forms a new façade on North Road while the chamber recital hall, clad with a timber screen consisting of light‐coloured cedar wood slats, sits amongst the park’s mature trees. Finishes of stone and timber create a sequence of warm and tactile interior spaces.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by Joe Clark

The new entrance to the college opens out onto Bute Park and a treble‐height arcade forms a new spine between the new and old accommodation, linking the constituent elements, functioning as exhibition space for a range of creative and artistic output.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

The Gallery also acts as the ‘lungs’ for the scheme, creating a natural stack effect which ventilates the public spaces.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Project details
Area: 4,400 m2
Status: Completed 2011
Value: £22.5 million

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Above: photograph is by Joe Clark

Team
Client: Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
BFLS team: Jason Flanagan, Paul Bavister, Jason Sandy, Anne Heucke, Kibwe Tavares, Armando Elias
Acoustic Engineer: Arup Acoustics
Structural & Services Engineer: Mott MacDonald
Lighting Consultant: Equation Lighting
Theatre Consultant: Theatre Projects Consultants
Cost Consultant: Davis Langdon

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Click above for larger image

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Click above for larger image

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Click above for larger image

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Click above for larger image

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

Click above for larger image

  • alex

    Far from the Carbuncle Cup winner… A quick look at BFLS's website shows that they've got some very attractive projects in the running. A great project for Cardiff, I love the first auditorium photographed.

  • http://createfreethinking.blogspot.com/ Melissa

    A beautiful addition to a city that already has an impressive array of architecture, old and new. Great photography too.

  • http://www.saimanmiah.com Saiman

    Great. Love the timbers.