University of Bath Creative Arts Centre
The practice was shortlisted in the competition to design a new Interdisciplinary Arts Complex for the University of Bath. Our starting point was an understanding of the potential of the building in the life of the campus and its physical position at the entrance to the university. We concentrated on three key objectives: thinking of the new building as a beacon on the campus, focussing on the creation of an arts cluster and creating an open and legible form.
We began working with the purely practical, extracting from the brief each individual element. Working closely with theatre and art consultants, we gave each element an ideal volume. We then created a series of block studies. The form focused on maximising the visibility of the arts on the campus and the potential to engage the whole student body in the life of the complex. Permeability and visibility were crucial. We created an open and inviting building, with a central route from arrival to the garden beyond. We decided that public elements of the brief could be grouped together on the ground floor around a dynamic public foyer. We gave the dance studio a prime position in the new building, within a form which extended over the public approach, so that its lively activity would act as a signal to the campus. Its key position further meant that an extensive view of the campus was brought into the studio and the studio itself became a volume of natural light.