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SEA: CULTURE

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With two private operas, exhibition and museum work, a project involving Roman monuments on Via Appia, victory in the momi/nft Landmark competition, second place in the multi-stage Science Museum Materials Gallery competition, and lottery work for the Kempton Pump Station, a designated National Monument, sea is making forays into the sector of art and culture design work in the uk.

GRANGE PARK OPERA

The first season of the Grange Park Opera, due to open this July, will be housed in the Orangery of Northington Grange, a Greek Revival mansion in rural Hampshire. The mansion had been allowed to deteriorate, and most of the internal fittings and a certain amount of the internal structure were lost to the elements. In the early 1980s English Heritage became guardian of the building, demolishing the parts that could not be saved and making the structures safe and watertight. sea is currently converting the Cockerell-designed Orangery into a 350-seat auditorium. The ground- floor rooms in the main house will be used as a restaurant, and the basement as changing and green-room facilities.

Structural engineer: Atelier One

GARSINGTON OPERA

Open-air opera performances at Leonard Ingrams' Garsington Manor take place for six weeks every summer. Performances in the listed Ottoline Morrell-inspired gardens used to be held ransom to the English weather. sea's initial brief was to design a canopy to protect the orchestra and performers from the elements, but the design evolved into the first motorised membrane structure in the uk. In subsequent years both the opera season and the audience grew, and productions became more elaborate. Protecting the neighbours from intrusive noise also became an issue. Over the years additional structures were implemented, and the original retractable structure replaced with a larger one.

Structural engineer: Atelier One

Interventions into historic contexts are a recurring challenge for the practice, with projects and studies in the uk, Rome, Warsaw, Havana and Nimes. Committed to facilitating the progress of technology, challenging dogma and opening up perceptions, sea strives to put contemporary technology to meaningful use in historic locations sensitively, selectively and intelligently.

PROJECT PARCO, VIA APPIA, ROME

sea is a member of the team which won ecdgx - Program Raphael Archeo - Protection of European Cultural Heritage assistance for project parco - an archaeological park centred on Via Appia (called by Statius the queen of roads). parco includes Villa dei Quintili - a vast expanse of ruins dating to Hadrian's times; Mausoleum Cecilia Metella and Castello Caetani - a massive drum-like tower, 100 Roman feet in diameter, dating from 20 bc; and 'Vigna' Barberini. The team, managed by enea, includes Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma, Azienda Tramvie ed Autobus Comune di Roma , the Polytechnic of Crete, and Ecole Francaise de Rome. sea is developing concepts for lightweight structures, including an etfe roof for Castello Caetani. It was Cezary Bednarski's residence in Rome as a Rome Scholar with the British School that led to the project.

Structural engineer: Whitby Bird and Partners

etfe contractor: Koch HighTex

Membrane analysis: Tensys

THE TREASURES OF SAINT CUTHBERT, DURHAM CATHEDRAL

The Durham Acropolis is a World Heritage Site. The cathedral was founded by the followers of Saint Cuthbert whose tomb lies behind the high altar. The sea-designed permanent exhibition, located in the cathedral cloisters, presents his relics and the cathedral's treasury collection. Most astonishing is the beautifully carved coffin in which the saint was interred in 677ad, and which his followers carried across to the Irish Sea and back before finally laying it to rest at Durham. The exhibition is organised around his life and legacy. The project was part funded by a National Heritage grant.

Exhibition lighting: Sutton-Vane Associates Graphic design: Johnson Banks

Building services engineer: WSP

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