STRIKING A CHORD IN CARDIFF December 2011
Following a £22.5 million redevelopment, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, in Cardiff, is proud of its new world-leading facilities, including a 450 capacity Concert Hall, wrapped in attractive Timber Fins, courtesy of Levolux.
Designed by BFLS architects, the BREEAM ‘excellent’ rated development is set in the grounds of Cardiff Castle, on the banks of the River Taff, overlooking parkland to the south-west. The development comprises three linked buildings, brought together under a floating roof.
Each building is distinctive in its appearance, including the curvaceous Concert Hall, which lies at the northern end of the development. The development also includes a 160 seat, state-of-the-art Theatre, along with rehearsal studios and circulation areas.
The Concert Hall is particularly impressive, with its imposing structure clad with rows of vertical Timber Fins. The Fins measure 185mm wide by 44mm thick and are 2.3 metres in length. The completed installation comprises 2306 Timber Fins, machined in Western Red Cedar.
Developed to provide differential weathering, concentric rows of Timber Fins are fixed at alternating angles, creating a contrasting aesthetic which appears to change as you pass around and enter the building.
Three rows of Fins are fixed at 45 degrees, which effectively screen the building’s inner structure. Another two rows of Timber Fins are positioned in front of east and west-facing windows at first and second floor levels. These are fixed at 90 degrees, which is the optimum angle to absorb and reflect a proportion of the sun’s rays, while allowing natural daylight to filter through into internal spaces.
As a result, the application of the Fins significantly reduces solar heat gain within the building, which reduces the need for air conditioning.
The Timber Fins complement the college’s parkland setting, providing the building with an organic façade which screens the inner structure, controls solar heat gain and encourages natural ventilation.
Following the architect’s vision for an inherently eco-friendly building, all timber used by Levolux was sustainably sourced, with a full chain of custody. Engineered from Western Red Cedar, the Timber Fins are lightweight, durable and require no application of a finish. Over time the Fins will acquire an attractive, silver-grey patina.
Now known as the Dora Stoutzker Hall, the iconic new Concert Hall with its striking Timber Fins from Levolux, is designed to impress and will strike a chord with musicians, visitors and building professionals alike.