A PURPOSE BUILT MUSIC SCHOOL SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO CATER FOR THE DIGITAL AGE
The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire teaches all forms of music and houses five venues for its performance.
A feat of acoustic acrobatics, it contains a public concert hall with the capacity of 500 seats and a full orchestra, a 150 seat recital hall, The Lab - a ‘black box’ experimental music space - a 100 seat organ studio and the Eastside Jazz Club, as well as 70 practice rooms of various sizes. Daily performances are open to all. The combination of careful attention to purpose-built detail, together with an over-arching vision of artistic and educational ambition, has delivered a lasting cultural monument to both the City and its University.
If anything, it has exceeded our expectations - in particular the acoustics of the five star performance spaces. the main hall is the gem. It is really fantastic acoustic, but if there is one adjective to describe it, I think it's warm.
Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
A DUET BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE
There are two contrasting sides to the Conservatoire. The intense, private rehearsal spaces where students spend many dedicated hours mastering their instruments, and the open, public world of the foyers and performance areas where visitors are invited in.
The main foyer serves the five major performance venues and provides a rich welcome to the building. It forms a route which connects the city and campus entrances and divides the rehearsal spaces on the north from the performance spaces on the quieter, traffic-free, south side of the building.
Working together with Hoare Lea’s expert team, we aimed to create acoustic environments that would be amongst the very best in the world.
To fit within the small footprint of the building, the five venues are stacked above one another over three levels, creating a 3D puzzle where potential sound transfer must be avoided. Each venue is structurally separate, with heavy massed floor and wall construction within steel frames to form isolated inner boxes within the larger ‘box’ of the Conservatoire.
The five venues each have their own particular character, both visually and acoustically, with the Concert Hall being the most complex. A combination of fine and larger scale diffusion and sound scattering treatments cover the walls and work to produce a rich, even and diffuse sound field.
Sit back and Enjoy the performance
The furniture and fit-out design, though keeping to an overall aesthetic reflects the individual atmosphere and purpose of each space within the building.
The main concert hall and the smaller recital hall use the language of warm, mid-tone timbers, with audience seating kept in a traditional theatrical burgundy and a light warm blue.
Seating in the public spaces have a paler wood finish, reflecting the lightness of the open double height spaces
Low-level lounge seating and bar stools in dark wood stains in the Jazz Club recreate the more intimate feel of a jazz bar. The upholstery hints at the warmth yet occasional ‘acid’ friction in jazz music.
In the upper floors, colour schemes and wayfinding identify the different departments and specialist musician seating caters to the requirements of different instruments.