The Duke's Road building was built around 1895 as a drill hall. It is constructed of loadbearing brickwork supporting filler-joist floors and the drill hall roof (later to be the theatre) is supported on steel trusses. The new works at this end of the site involved the addition of a lift and a staircase, forming new openings and rationalising floor levels for better access. The work required the removal of areas of floor and walls at every level and needed a thorough understanding of the existing building.
The existing services block was constructed of thick loadbearing brickwork supporting steelwork beams and timber floors. Rather than demolish the building and start again, the existing ground-floor structure was lowered, and the remaining floors were removed and new floors inserted to line through with the new studio floors.
The remaining existing buildings beyond the Flaxman Terrace block were demolished, leaving a very constricted site to build the new RC-framed studio block.
The RC frame is built on piled foundations and supports the in situ RC slabs of the office and circulation area, and the prestressed concrete double-T beams of the dance studios. These double-T beams span 12m and their natural frequency was investigated to ensure they were sympathetic to dance studio usage. The two ground-floor walls, separating the studios and forming the central servicechimney, were designed as RC transfer beams to support all of the structure above the basement studios, allowing them to be opened up into one space if required. The RC frame also resupported the ends of the existing Flaxman Terrace block steelwork floor beams.