Studio Seilern Architects have won the design competition for the new Performance Arts Centre (PAC) at Wellington College, UK – the hub of the college’s new Cultural Quarter.
The building will present itself as a unique opportunity to aim towards a different ‘holistic education’, based on self-discovery and helping to define the ethos of Wellington College’s heritage.
The new PAC will sit on the boundary between the Campus and the forest that frames the southern and eastern areas, creating a vibrant public space that connects with the rich, green landscaping.
The project will aim to upgrade the existing theatre facilities and will provide a 1400-seat performance space to accommodate a large range of activities. The interstitial space between the existing theatre and the new assembly hall will become a new Cultural Living Room (CLR) which will give students an unstructured and informal area for creative output, as well as a flexible social hub for the community of Wellington College.
The circular building shape will give a more natural link between the wider campus and the CLR, at the core of the new Cultural Quarter.
From the architects: "The scheme explores the idea of integrating a round auditorium as a floating drum, a building without sides, hovering lightly above the ground, nested within the surrounding forest. “
While trying to define its connection with the landscape and the heritage buildings, the materiality of the building become a defining factor: the architects will propose to face these volumes in a charred wood cladding that gives the impression of the new PAC emerging directly from the woodland and being part of it.
The new PAC will not only aim to fulfil the college’s artistic and academic ambitions, but will offer a distinctive prospect to enhance the setting of the existing buildings by rethinking the public spaces in its immediate context. A more defined and continuous landscape character is thus able to emerge from the proposal.