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Seven years on: Edgley Design wins approval for London ballet school

Edgley lrbs rear exterior
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Plans for the overhaul of a ballet school in Clapham, south London, by Edgley Design – first submitted seven years ago – have been approved

The scheme in Clapham Manor Street, which was granted permission by Lambeth Council at appeal, include refurbishing the existing Grade II-listed London Russian Ballet School building and a single-storey extension at the rear. 

The proposals also include excavating a basement area, and demolishing the existing garage, kitchen, and storeroom.

According to the practice, the project will retain ‘all significant historical fabric to the front and rear façades’ and create a new extension, which will now provide a new studio featuring a high-ceiling and a ‘delicate glass roof’.

Edgley Design director Jake Edgley said: ‘The design seeks to create both a sensitive addition to the listed building and the Rectory Grove conservation area, while providing an expressive and inspiring space for the study and teaching of ballet, with a composition emulating concepts of rhythm, strength and balance, inspired by dance.’

The latest application for the scheme was refused in November 2015, despite planning officers’ recommendation to approve it, but was subsequently approved at appeal. 

Subject to funding, the revised scheme is expected to start on site in early 2019.

Ground floor plan

Ground floor plan

Source: Edgley Design

London Russian Ballet School by Edgley Design (ground floor plan)

Architect’s view 

The scheme involves the major extension and refurbishment of the building to create a modern, functional and world-class ballet school. Larger, purpose-built studios with high ceilings will meet the demands of rigorous teaching and rehearsals. The reorganisation of the building will allow greater flexibility for a wide range of students of all ages and abilities.

The concept of the project is firmly rooted in a careful consideration of the existing two-storey building – built in 1854 as the Clapham General and Provident Dispensary – and a sensitive response to the preserved condition of its Italianate façade of grey brick and stucco dressings, and its setting in a residential street within the Rectory Grove Conservation Area. There will be no changes to the visible front elevation of the building, which has already been restored by the school.

Aiming to physically represent dance and the notion of strength in balance, ideas of sequence, rhythm and movement influence the spaces and the materiality of the design. Where technically possible, the structure of the existing building will be exposed, with modern insertions for the new building fabric to create a rich material palette defined by the character and history of the building.

Project data

Location London Russian Ballet School, 42 Clapham Manor Street, London SW4
Gross internal area 1,032m²
Site area 680m²
Clients London Russian Ballet School
Architect Edgley Design
Planning consultant Boyer
Structural engineer Fluid Structures
M&E consultant Synergy

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