Our approach centred on the concept of Home, and how to invest an institutional building with the nurturing qualities, flexibility, ease and generosity of a welcoming, settled house. The ability to make yourself at home was identified as the key strategy at both furniture and room scales. Solid pieces of infrastructure - concrete counter, long oak table - are highly durable, but allow an active creative inhabitation.
This culminates in the Barn, a fully equipped rehearsal studio. It is a lofty oak-lined room of billowing, folding roof planes, an enveloping home for the imagination. A room-scaled window seat looks out to the courtyard. A small dormer in the balcony offers a tiny refuge, a nook just big enough for one person, sitting curled up looking out to the street below. The performance space is as usable for a quiet sulk as for a noisy workshop.
A copper roof fitted well with this intention on a number of different levels:
It sends a message of care, permanence and security to young vulnerable users – something that's here to stay and done with pride. It suits the economic model of an independent charity; one-off capital funding followed by a struggle to survive. So low maintenance and long-life justify the build cost.
Copper allowed us to form the detail and mass of the roof in one material, giving a crisp abstraction to the familiar forms used. And so a conversation was established between old and new.
We enjoyed the ability for fine tailoring that copper allowed. The sweeping, tall mass of the roof ends in a delicate upturned hem. The jointing of the copper drapes over the undulating form like a nicely tailored shirt. The downpipes become thin filaments connecting the roof to the earth.
The material is ageing gracefully into a rich, relaxed deep colour, making the relationship to the surrounding roofscape clearer and the building more settled.