The North Wall Arts Centre is built in the grounds of St Edward's School, shared in use by the school and as a public arts centre. It houses a flexible 300-seat theatre, a rehearsal space, dance studio and an art gallery. The design unites an ancient stone boundary wall, a Grade 2 listed Victorian former swimming pool and a new building, to form a carefully scaled streetscape to the public side and a new courtyard to the school.
“A delightful transformation of a listed Victorian swimming pool into a vibrant school arts facility...A skilful and imaginative scheme, showing careful detailing and a high standard of design which should provide inspiration to both pupils and visitors. A welcome resource for both the city and the school. ”
Judges Citation, Civic Trust
The scheme has been envisaged as a linear series of connected 'barns' built against the weathered stone boundary wall. Vernacular forms, contemporary detailing and traditional but unfamiliar materials emphasise the building's role as a place for innovation and creativity within a sensitive historic environment.
The walls and roof of the building are clad in unseasoned English oak shakes (hand-split shingles) and thin vertical slats, designed to bend and twist into organic, patinated surfaces that will vary in colour and texture according to orientation and exposure. The combination of vernacular forms, large frameless windows and a traditional primary cladding material is intended to appear both familiar and striking in the red brick and clay tile setting of the school and its immediate surroundings.
The North Wall Performing Arts Centre
Address: St Edward's School, Woodstock Road, Oxford
Completion Date: September 2006
Construction Cost: £2.66M
Client: St Edward's School
Contractor: Benfield & Loxley (Oxford) Ltd
Structural Engineer: Price and Myers LLP
Services Engineer: Max Fordham LLP
Quantity Surveyor: Bristow Johnson & Partners
Theatre Consultant: Charcoalblue
Acoustic Engineer: Paul Gillieron Acoustic Design
CDM Coordinator: PFB Construction Management Services
Access Consultant: Tom Lister Associates
Civic Trust Award
RIBA Award (South Region)
RIBA National Award
RIBA South Conservation Commendation
RIBA South Conservation Award