Touring Theatre

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Group Design Project
The design of a temporary touring theatre for the Nuffield Theatres and the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment
Group Members
Paul Bryans, Cashel Cahill, Robyn Hunt, Jonathan Munns, Margarita Murillo Benitez, Robert Newell, Sally Pickard, Katerina Spaull

Alastair McDonald, Dr. Howard Clarke, Professor David Thompson

Nuffield Southampton Theatres, ARUP

The design of an 80-seat touring theatre for the Nuffield Southampton Theatres and the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment. This was a multi-disciplinary project carried out by a team of Civil and Acoustic engineering students.

The proposed solution is a cable braced aluminium frame system with four curved roof trusses supported by eight bespoke lifting jacks. This created a large open space through the efficient use of structural materials, whilst also reducing work at height, and a custom modular cassette floor system was used to accelerate the construction time. Inflatable cladding panels were used for the building envelope, providing optimum acoustic and thermal performance with minimal weight. Due to the lightweight nature of the structure, water ballast tanks were added to resist wind uplift. The solution was designed to fit within one lorry and to be constructed by eight people within a ten hour timeframe.
The acoustic focus of the project was to produce an internal auditorium suitable for spoken word performances. The project optimised accessibility for those with hearing aids and cochlear implants by designing a low reverberation time. This was achieved with minimal weight and ease of construction using innovative technologies such as microperforate reverberation control and computational prediction software.

Visual interest in the structure is created by its striking red colour and undulating inflated fa├žade. An in-the-round layout with steeply raked seating helps create an intimate atmosphere encouraging the audience to detach from the external environment and focus on the performance.

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