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De Matos Ryan wins approval for £12m performing arts school revamp

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De Matos Ryan has been given the go-ahead for a £12 million project to revamp and extend Arts Educational Schools’ (ArtsEd) west London campus in Chiswick

The scheme, which the practice won in competition in March 2017, will add an extra 3,000m² to the former 1950s Chiswick Polytechnic, which the school moved into 30 years ago.

The redevelopment will provide ‘improved and expanded facilities’ for the day school and sixth form as well as the schools of Acting and Musical Theatre.

According to De Matos Ryan, the plans make ’innovative use of the tight urban site, optimising the rooftop areas of the existing three to four storey buildings and unlock the potential of the previously unused courtyard space’.

The practice described the scheme as a new ’playful architectural narrative’ which had been ’inspired by the ideas of natural movement’ and which reflects the pioneering vision of Olive Ripman and Grace Cone, who set up the school in 1944.

At the heart of the scheme is a new hexagonal studio theatre at the core of the reorganised site.

José Esteves de Matos, director at De Matos Ryan, said: ’This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents a turning point in the ArtsEd’s 100-year history and provides the conditions to strengthen, develop and express the ArtsEd brand as one of the world’s most influential performing arts organisations.’

Architect’s view

Underpinned by a new studio theatre at the core of the reorganised site, the scheme unlocks, with new architectural clarity, the potential of the existing buildings and delivers an additional 3,000m² of new facilities. The light bronze-coloured steel exterior treatment of the new volumes presents the opportunity to propose a new architectural language that brings renewed coherence and identity to the school.

The volume of the new Studio Theatre is visually present at all levels and across both the Higher Education and Day schools, which will be spatially separated for enhanced safeguarding. This hexagonal theatre can adapt to numerous actor/audience typologies, offering unexpected opportunities for creative teams to experiment wider and discover more innovative creative landscapes.

ground floor plan de matos ryan arts ed

ground floor plan de matos ryan arts ed

ground floor plan de matos ryan arts ed

At the heart of the restructured campus is a new shared social foyer space, housing a new cafeteria and library, linking the main auditorium to the new Studio Theatre at opposite ends of the site.

A figurative oval entrance canopy detailed in matching light bronze-finished steel provides enhanced identity along Bath Road and links visually to the new rooftop volume, which accommodates state-of-the-art north-lit dance studios.

The implementation of the development will be phased and this is being carefully considered to ensure the least amount of disruption to both the surrounding community and the school, which will remain operational throughout.

Project data

Address 14 Bath Road, London W4 1LY
Client Arts Educational Schools, London
Architect De Matos Ryan
Director in charge José Esteves de Matos
Quantity surveyor McBains
Structural engineer Price & Myers
Services engineer P3r Engineers
Project manager Synergy
Theatre and acoustic consultant Charcoalblue
Access consultant David Bonnett
Highways consultant HaskoningDHV UK
Fire engineer The Fire Surgery
BREEAM Consultant Price & Myers
CDMC adviser Jackson Coles
Site area 4,290m²
Existing building GEA 7,682m²
Redevelopment GEA 10,680m²
Project status Planning permission granted 14 June 2018
Visuals Darc Studio

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