University of Bath
The Edge is a new centre for the arts at the University of Bath, which brings together a range of spaces for the visual and performing arts under a single roof. The £6m remodelling and extension of the University’s Arts Theatre – originally designed by Peter and Alison Smithson, but never fully completed – houses the new Institute of Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts (ICIA), a centre of arts excellence in the university and the city.
The new arts centre enables the university to engage more fully with the local community and wider region, and to provide an innovative and attractive public programme of arts events.
Bath University is a largely science and technology based institution, but the Vice Chancellor recognises the value of creative arts integrated into the life of the university.
Key to the design brief was to bring together diverse art forms and practices and help foster new interactions between disciplines. The building provides a 220 seat theatre, an art gallery, dance and performance studios, visual arts studios and music practice rooms for individuals and ensembles. It also, deliberately and provocatively, provides research rooms for the school of management at the heart of a new creative arts building.
The building is a simple geometric form, clad with reflective folded and perforated aluminium cladding, which gives the building a distinctive presence among the many new academic and residential buildings being developed on campus. It shares a new foyer space and a courtyard garden with the original Smithson theatre, and rises to form a simple geometrical wedge shaped building, where the top floor dance studio looks out towards the distant landscape beyond the campus