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Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich by John Lyall Architects

[FIRST LOOK] A major new centre for dance opens this week to become the ‘cultural heart’ of The Mill, a £70 million waterfront redevelopment in Ipswich

Part of The Mill by John Lyall Architects (AJ 01.10.09), the Jerwood DanceHouse opens to the public this week. The £8.9 million building was developed by DanceEast and is one of the biggest centres for dance in Europe, providing over 2,500m² of performance space and facilities.

The building features four custom-built dance studios, a 200-seat studio theatre with full production facilities, dressing rooms, therapy suites, green room, new headquarters offices for DanceEast, a café and a public courtyard.

Until 10 years ago, The Mill was a working flour mill. After it closed, it was bought by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) in order to create a high-quality civic development on the stretch of the Orwell closest to Ipswich town centre.

When the tin facade was removed from the old flour mill, remnants of the building’s 1848 facade were found to be intact beneath. Much of the old building has been demolished but John Lyall chose to integrate part of this facade into the Jerwood DanceHouse. The roof line of the lower elements is also designed to recall the rhythm of the roof line of the Victorian mill.

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