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It's showtime: BFLS completes Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

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BFLS’ newly completed Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff – Wales’ national music and drama conservatoire – will open to students later this month.

The £22.5million project, which was won in international competition in 2007, features a 450-seat chamber recital hall, a 180-seat theatre, four rehearsal studios, an exhibition gallery, foyer and a terrace overlooking the Grade I-listed Bute Park.

The architect’s view

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. From the outset the client was very specific that the new buildings should act as a catalyst for positive cultural change and help foster greater artistic collaboration across the institution.
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 gallery also acts as the lungs for the scheme

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.
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

Richard Burton Theatre

Project details

4,400 m²
Status: Completed October 2011
Value: £22.5 million
Client: Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Acoustic Engineer: Arup Acoustics
Structural & Services Engineer: Mott MacDonald
Lighting Consultant: Equation Lighting
Theatre Consultant: Theatre Projects Consultants
Cost Consultant: Davis Langdon




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