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Studio Seilern wins go-ahead for £12m performing arts centre

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Studio Seilern has won planning for its competition-winning performing arts centre at Wellington College in Berkshire


The practice won the job for the £12 million building through competition back in January. 

Acting as the hub of the college’s new Cultural Quarter, the 2,580m2 round timber-clad building houses a theatre, dance studios, recording studios, and music practice rooms. 

The space between the existing building and the new 1,400-seat auditorium will become a ‘cultural living room’ looking out on to the surrounding forest and creating a public square. 

The historic Wellington College was originally built in 1856 by John Shaw Junior. The 400-acre campus includes a number of listed buildings built in the Rococo style alongside more modern development built after the seventies. 

The scheme is set to complete in August 2016. 

Wellington College by Studio Seilern

Wellington College by Studio Seilern

Architect’s view 

The performance arts centre will sit on the boundary between the campus and the forest that frames the southern and eastern areas, creating a vibrant public space that connects with the rich, green landscaping. 

The materiality of the building becomes a defining factor. We has proposed a charred wood cladding that gives the impression that the entire structure has emerged from the woods whilst still being a part of it. 

Our proposal aims to add one more distinctive layer to the brief by creating a ‘cultural living room’ between the existing theatre and the new assembly hall. The purpose of the living room is to give students an unstructured and informal area for creative output such as holding exhibitions and talks. Furthermore, it is designed to act as a fun social hub for the community of Wellington College.

Wellington College by Studio Seilern

Wellington College by Studio Seilern

Ground Floor Plan

Project data

Location Berkshire, UK
Type of project education
Area 2,580m²
Client Wellington College
Architect Studio Seilern Architects
Project manager Thornton Firkin
Theatre consultant Charcoalblue
Structural engineer Peter Brett Associates
Quantity surveyor Thornton Firkin
Landscape architect TLG Landscape Design
M&E consultant Michael Popper Associates
Acoustic consultant Bickerdike Allen
Lighting consultant Michael Popper Associates
Fire engineer Buro Happold
Start on site date February 2015
Completion date August 2016
Total cost £12 million

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