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BDP's Norwich City College creative arts 'barn' opens doors

BDP has completed this £4.6million creative arts building for Norwich City College

Built on the college’s main Ipswich Road campus the black timber clad pavilion contains 2,600m² of teaching space dedicated to art and drama.

The building has a fully glazed north facade to allow the activities taking place within the block to be visible to the campus.

Performing arts rehearsal spaces arranged around a naturally lit central space on the ground floor include a small theatre which cane be merged with a dance studio to host public events.

Digital arts facilities on the first floor include TV and music recording studios along with media, graphics, animation and photography editing suites. Art studios on the top floor can be opened up to form a ‘meandering’ gallery space.

The design meets the BREEAM Excellent standard and includes a natural ventilation system, ground source heating, brown water recycling and solar panels.

Architect’s view

Wayne Head, architect director, BDP

‘This building has a multi-functional program for art and drama based activity. Its strong and pure architectural frame means that it can absorb its transient and messy activities well. An element of Norfolk and Suffolk traditional build is suggested, although a new contemporary language is achieved.

A black timber-clad pavilion set on the edge of a tree lined south facing garden forms a green veil backdrop. The north facing wall is quite open in order to soak up glare free north light into the gallery spaces. This side of the building is also distinctive as it pushes outwards to form an exciting frontage (some also say Gothic and mysterious).

Students will enjoy loft-like interiors which give a great sense of openness and create the atmosphere of a professional gallery arrangement.
The west facing wall is an animated ‘store front’ clad in an embroidery of fins which are set densely or sparsely to suit the activity.’

Project data

Architect BDP
Structural engineer BDP
Project architect Wayne Head
Client City College Norwich
Start on site date 2012
Completed Sep 2013
Gross internal floor area 2,600m²
Total cost £4.6million
M&e consultant BDP
Lighting consultant BDP

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