PBA has worked closely with architects, Studio Seilern, to make the award-winning G. W. Annenberg Performing Arts Centre a reality for Wellington College in Berkshire.
The co-educational private school required additional space for its weekly assemblies and general performances and the new state-of-the-art facility provides a concert hall and theatre that cater for up to 1400 people. A glass foyer was also created between the auditorium and the existing Christopher Lee Theatre next door, providing a further informal space for exhibitions and talks.
Located in the heart of Bracknell forest, the 33m diameter circular auditorium, clad with rough sawn larch timber, curves to provide a sympathetic backdrop to the surrounding woodland. Due to height restrictions, and proximity to the original historic college buildings, the complex circular auditorium steel frame, bears on to a concrete basement structure partially recessed in to the sloping natural ground.
Key to the design was the architect’s vision to create a column free cultural living room space and building perimeter, allowing a vibrant, open space filled with natural light for students and visitors. PBA developed innovative and extensive structural transfer systems to enable this vision. The structural depth presented a challenge throughout the building, so close collaboration with the architect was critical to permit the auditorium ventilation to integrate with the structure.