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Paxton Locher's Jerwood artsrehearsal space a triumph

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A new and much-needed arts rehearsal space has opened this week in Southwark, South London. Supported by the Jerwood Foundation, and called the Jerwood Space, this conversion of a Victorian school and its outbuildings has been designed by Paxton Locher Architects making as much use of the existing building as possible. This means not only the conservation of the building shell but also the re-use of wooden handrails, glazed brickwork, radiators and shower fittings.

Five rehearsal spaces have been created, four with sprung floors. The two main spaces on the ground floor have a double series of glazed timber doors between them, allowing them to be opened up and used as one space. The project works on the Robin Hood principle, charging established companies commercial rates to subsidise space hire to the up-and-coming.

At the front of the school, forming the entrance from Union Street, the architect has converted three outbuildings to form an art gallery and a cafe. It has put glazing in the roof, taking advantage of the perfect north orientation, and left the original metal roof trusses exposed, although raising them on new columns for the central section which was originally lower than its neighbours. The gallery floors are paved with blue brick.

A corridor link, the only truly new part of the building, then leads visitors from the public to the private spaces. The director's office has been squeezed into a mezzanine, its glazed front providing a classic captain's bridge.

Rehearsal spaces are accompanied by dedicated production offices, circumventing the shortcomings of many rehearsal venues. Playful touches, such as a nearly full-height opaque glazed screen acting as the only separation between the men's and women's showers, recognise the informal nature of the companies that will use the space. There is also the opportunity to break out into the paved and planted external spaces. Robust metal and glass screens provide shelter for walkways at ground and first-floor level.

Converted with the aid of a grant from the Arts Council's lottery fund, the Jerwood Space also has rooms which have undergone minimal conversion that can be leased to those in the 'creative' businesses. Interested tenants include architects,evidently impressed by the inspired pragmatism and generous penny pinching of Paxton Locher's work.

Ruth Slavid

Peter Moore donates£7million

Philanthropist Peter Moores has donated £7 million to complete the transformation of Compton Verney in Warwickshire into an art museum. Stanton Williams is the architect for the conversion of the 18th Century stately home, built in the Vanbrugh style, with two wings added by Adam.

The Compton Verney House Trust, founded by Moores, bought the house and its surrounding estate in 1993, and has already spent £7 million on restoration and conversion. The museum, which houses the Peter Moores Foundation Art Collection and the British Folk Art Collection, opened to the public for a preview season in April 1998. It will open permanently in spring 2000.

Bankruptcy threatens newSadler's Wells theatre

Sadler's Wells Theatre has come under financial threat as its rebuilding nears completion because of the cutbacks at the Royal Opera House. The new theatre, designed by rhwl with Nicholas Hare, re-opens on 12 October but faces a £2 million shortfall as the result of the Opera House's decision to cancel its programme for next year. These performances would have taken place at Sadler's Wells.

Despite £20 million Arts lottery funding, Sadler's Wells, which receives a far lower subsidy than other major theatres, has struggled to fund its £40 million redevelopment. Now theatre director Ian Albery has warned that without compensation for loss of income, the theatre could become bankrupt.

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