State-of-the-art performance facilities in a sensitive setting
1532 Performing Arts Centre
|Client||Bristol Grammar School|
A brief history
The 1532 Performing Arts Centre provides state-of-the-art facilities for music, dance and drama for Bristol Grammar School and Bristol as a whole. The name 1532 reflects the School's history, being the year that the School received its royal charter.
The development presented an opportunity to enhance the character and appearance of the conservation areas through the addition of a high quality new building which provides substantial public benefits. Through careful massing, detailed design and materials, we wanted to develop a scheme for the new building that would preserve the setting of the curtilage listed buildings on the site, and to safeguard the character and appearance of the three directly affected Conservation Areas.
Using our experience of developing similar auditoria space, AWW developed a design solution that not only provides the amenities and environments that the students require but also fits comfortably into the existing sensitive context. The MacKinnon Theatre is a versatile auditorium with retractable seating for between 245 to 320 audience members. A dance studio, drama studio and recital hall are also available to hire by the public.
The frontage is characterised by a ‘green edge’ containing an embankment backed by mature trees and hedge planting. This green edge was retained by setting back the development.
The outline and detailed design stages were critical to the success of the planning process. The scheme needed to strike an appropriate balance between the setting of the heritage assets and the existing vegetation while achieving a bold architectural statement. Careful design has delivered a bold, modern building which sits comfortably within this sensitive site.
As well as hosting productions and performances by Bristol Grammar School students, 1532 offers a high quality programme featuring professional local and touring companies and encompassing a wide variety of genres. Audience feedback includes comments such as ‘An impressively designed new venue, with a comfortable flexible auditorium and very welcoming FOH facilities’.