The Arc, formerly the Dovecot Arts Centre, is on a prominent corner site in central Stockton on Tees. Visible from the market place, it will become the principal agent of regeneration in this run-down part of the town.
The Arc is a compact and lively building, with a range of performance and work spaces. The Arts Team's work at Warwick Arts Centre has been influential here. A true arts centre, the Arc contains a 275-seat theatre, cinema, cabaret venue, dance studio, interactive studios and support accommodation. Funded by the Arts Council Lottery, it provides great value for money with a construction cost of £6700 per seat. Totally transparent foyers allow the activities within to be highly visible by day and night, attracting people to the centre. The arts therefore become part of the town's activities and character. This transparency will encourage spontaneous events within the foyers: the street theatre for which the town is famous now has an umbrella.
Rising through three foyer levels, the continuous main stair provides a dynamic diagonal on the facade where the curving glass rises above the solid base. At this point of visual tension, the artist Richard Wilson has conceived an interaction that redefines how works of art are perceived in buildings. Entitled 'Over Easy', it is not an art work that is simply applied but is part of the architecture. At the junction of glazing and wall, an 8m circular section will rotate slowly.
CLIENT: Arc Trust Limited
ACOUSTICIAN: Fleming & Barron
LIGHTING CONSULTANT: Lighting Design Partnership
ENGINEER: Cundall Johnston & Partners
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: Bucknall Austin
THEATRE EQUIPMENT: Northern Light