New facilities that are the envy of the University
This £8 million project replaces and enhances the FT&T facilities at the University of Reading. The building embodies the department’s distinctive approach of using practical film and theatre as a cornerstone of non-vocational academic training. The brief envisaged the building as a place of learning, production and display: primarily an educational facility, but also occasionally a public performance space.
It brings together a great number of highly specialised spaces on a tight site including:
- Two fully-equipped theatre spaces, licensed for public performance, and equipped with the latest sound, lighting and projection technology
- An experimental studio for exploratory work including installations, new media presentations and multimedia performance
- A state-of-the-art 70-person cinema with comfortable, raked seating, high definition digital projection and 7.1 surround sound; a multi-camera TV studio and mixing gallery
- A post-production area including individual editing suites, training spaces and facilities for audio mixing
We conceived the building as a set of teaching spaces grouped around a vibrant central atrium. The building consists of three levels of occupied space, with staff space sitting above the principal volumes of the two larger theatres, the screening room and the TV studio. These spaces form the cornerstones of the building.
We have exceeded the brief’s challenging acoustic performance criteria, and resolved complex air handling issues, partly through the creation of buffer zones such as workshops between performance spaces.
I just wanted to write and thank (Stride Treglown) for all your hard work in designing this really lovely building. We are all absolutely thrilled with it and we couldn’t have wished for a better space in which to work. It is very practical and appropriate for our work in so many of its excellent details, but it is also very beautiful and a lovely space to work in. The students couldn’t take the smile off their faces when we first introduced it to them a couple of weeks ago. In fact, they have taken to it like the proverbial ducks and are using the spaces (the breakout spaces in particular) just as we hoped. The staff are also enjoying all the spaces, especially the terrace – we had such lovely weather when we first moved in that we took full advantage of it.
I wanted to write to you personally to thank you for all you have done and to let you know how delighted we are with the building. We really appreciated you listening so carefully to us and trying to work through what, at times, must have seemed like impossible demands.
Professor Lib Taylor, University of Reading