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Project of the month Performing arts centre, Plymouth University


SOUTH-WEST BASED Contractor Midas Group has completed a £7m performing arts centre named The House for Plymouth University on its city-centre campus. The centrepiece of the 1,540sq m building, designed by architecture practice Burwell Deakins, is a double-height 200-capacity auditorium. Alongside the theatre a three-storey structure contains a public foyer, reception and feature staircase on the ground fl oor, rehearsal spaces and changing rooms on the fi rst fl oor, with offi ces and sound rooms above. Constructed with a lightweight steel


frame, the building’s skin is made from standing seam copper, the same material as the university’s Roland Levinsky arts centre opposite. It is also clad in locally sourced Plymouth limestone, a traditional building material in the city. An 11 x 6.5m external screen, integrated into the building’s south facade, will be used to screen live performances to the public. The facility is designed to be inclusive to performers, audiences and technical


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62 | APRIL 2015 | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER


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students – a tension grid over the entire theatre space allows full wheelchair access to the lighting and sound equipment and multi-level access to theatre spaces.


The scheme uses a natural ventilation


strategy and is designed with extended labyrinth intakes to minimise break-in noise. This is used in combination with exposed pre-cast concrete soffi ts, phase- change materials and connections to the central CHP plant to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating for the building. A range of undergraduate and


postgraduate programmes in dance, theatre and music will be taught at The House, which also has a fully sprung fl oor. Adam Benjamin, lecturer in theatre and performance at the university, says: “The House is probably the best middle- scale dance venue in the country – the sort of provision I associate with Japan or France and really quite astonishing for a British university.” CM Questions to laurie@ing-media.com


Circulation Net average circulation 30,508


Audit Period: 1 July 2013– 30 June 2014


Top: The House’s exterior incorporates standing seam copper and locally sourced Plymouth limestone


Above: The centrepiece of the building is the double- height, 200-seat theatre auditorium


Above right: Public reception areas are accompanied by technical and administrative space.


Right: A feature staircase is the focus of the ground fl oor public spaces


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Construction Manager is published monthly by Atom Publishing. The contents of this magazine are copyright. Reproduction in part or in full is forbidden without permission of the editor. The opinions expressed by writers of signed articles (even with pseudonyms) and letters appearing in the magazine are those of their respective authors, and neither the CIOB, Atom Publishing nor Construction Manager is responsible for these opinions or statements. The editor will give careful consideration to material submitted – articles, photographs, drawings and so on – but does not undertake responsibility for damage or their safe return. Printed by Headley Brothers Ltd. All rights in the magazine, including copyright, content and design, are owned by CIOB and/or Atom Publishing. ISSN 1360 3566


CHRISTOPHER HEANEY


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