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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, Wales by BFLS

November 1st, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: BFLS

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. 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.

North Rd facade from south (c Nick Guttridge)

  • Architects: BFLS
  • Project: Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
  • Location: Cardiff, Wales
  • Area: 4,400 m2
  • Status: Completed 2011
  • Value: £22.5 million
  • 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

View of North Rd facade (c Nick Guttridge)

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’. 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.

North Rd facade (c Nick Guttridge)

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.’

Concert Hall (c Nick Guttridge)

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. 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.’

Entrance detail (c Joe Clark)

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. 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.

Foyer (c BFLS)

2 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. 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.

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

Richard Burton Theatre (c Nick Guttridge)

Practice profile
BFLS is an award‐winning, design‐led architectural practice with offices in London, Prague and Hong Kong. The practice has extensive collective expertise across a broad range of sectors and building typology. Working with both private and public clients, our portfolio includes large‐scale commercial projects as well as prestigious, high‐end residential schemes. Public sector experience includes cultural, education and research projects. In addition, BFLS is known for its work across hotel, leisure, retail and business park sectors. The practice is also engaged in major master‐planning and infrastructure projects both in the UK and internationally. Working in dynamic studio environments, our work process is driven by analysis, creativity and rigorous commercial understanding. We are dedicated to the creation of fresh, progressive and inspiring architecture.

Richard Burton Theatre, interior (c Joe Clark)

View from South (c Joe Clark)

View of North Rd facade from south ( Nick Guttridge)

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