New facility for one of the UK’s leading drama schools, comprising two distinct blocks; one for studio work and one for theatre.
This new facility for the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts is set in the heart of Peckham next to the award-winning Peckham library. The building comprises two distinct blocks; one for studio and the other for theatre. The studio block includes numerous acting and dancing studios, TV black boxes and cafés, located over four floors. The theatre block includes a 200-seat theatre space, a lettable space, and an additional rooftop café.
Eckersley O’Callaghan has engineered the structure of the academy, which is primarily a concrete frame, utilising a precast lattice slab construction to achieve the longer spans across the dance studios. This has been designed with floor vibration sensitivity in mind. This flooring system meets the natural frequency requirements in these spaces and gives an architecturally expressed concrete finish.
A reinforced concrete frame encloses the theatre auditorium, which itself is formed in structural steel to accommodate the complex geometries. Acoustically resilient restraint brackets are used to separate the building from the surrounding concrete frame while providing lateral restraint.
Supported by lightweight timber frames, the sawtooth shape of the roof has large openings to maximise north light into the main acting and dance spaces.
The exterior character of each block is distinguished with different cladding materials; corten steel for the theatre block and brickwork for the studio block.
The client initiated the project with an aim to keep costs significantly lower than the benchmark of £3500/m2 for similar-use academies. By drawing and costing structural options, and building with different specification levels of finishes, we have been able to work with the client team to match expectations to the delivered building. The final structure provides robust but economic finishes and gives the academy the flexibility and the potential to develop the building further in the future.