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Dance & Drama Performance Studio - Rotherham.

Part 1 Project 2002
Lisa Procter
Claire Allman
University of Sheffield Sheffield UK
This project developed initially through concerns to devise a strategy to assist in the development of Rotherham. A dance and drama studio working on both a professional, beginners and educational level could provide a means of attracting visitors to the area as well as giving the local community a new lease if undertaken correctly.

I went on to read further into an aspect of architecture that has always been one of the key stimulants within my designs, a concern involving a phenomenological awareness of the body. This approach allowed for a play to develop stemming from the dancers awareness of space. This is an aspect of dance I could already appreciate due to my studies of contemporary and freestyle jazz. These concepts were stretched further through the readings of Robert Yudal.

The building developed through models studying movements on the surrounding site. This included a river to the south east of the building and a ramp leading over the river to a multi-storey car park located to the Northwest. The building progressed to wrap itself around these elements and thus these elements formed the basis for a spatial sequence incorporating architectural gestures that enforced the concept of the building becoming a stage for movement.

The aesthetic nature of the building breathes life in to the surrounding area, as does this journey through it. The primary intention lies within this route which creates spaces that work on a level users relate to whether subconsciously or willingly. The rethinking of the design of a theatre and a studio brought the journey to a head and complemented the architectural intentions of the general space within the project. They make clear the intentions of the space in relation to the dancer.

These plays of movement aren't just restricted to the interior. The carefully selected views of varying movement types into the building add to the buildings external dynamic form.

Lisa Procter
Claire Allman


The project brief encouraged the students to choose and follow their own agenda, to develop a brief from their own interests and to identify a suitable site - of their own choice - in Rotherham.

Lisa’s choice of a Dance and Drama Performance Studio drew on her own love and knowledge of contemporary jazz dance. The site she identified was the transport hub of Rotherham town centre, which occupies the southern bank of the river Don. This is a soulless place, despite the constant movement of people, public transport and water.

Lisa’s response to these stimulants, whilst confident, opened up new lines of enquiry and enabled her to produce a project full of surprises and energy. Her ideas about the architecture of movement and its relationship with the body were informed by the theoretical work of Robert Yudal. A series of conceptual models developed into energetic drawings and were then translated into a sequence of spatial experiences.

The resultant design is highly dynamic and challenges notions of horizontal floor plates and rectilinear space. Lisa demonstrates considerable skill in handling this potential chaos by translating her ideas into the detailed design of interior spaces. The drawings are her individual representation of her intention to breathe life into the heart of this struggling town.

2002
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