Chapter 2 of 24
Royal Scottish Academy Of Music & Drama, Glasgow, 1987. The Original Model
First then the building for the distinguished Royal Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. The proposals developed when a new site for this buidling was found in 1981. Here is the original model. This site had many advan- tages. The building could be given an imposing entrance from Renfrew Street on the southern boundary. Hope Street on the eastern boundary (on the right hand side of the slide) is the home of Scottish Opera in its Theatre Royal building. Scottish Television is nearby. On the western boundary (to the left) there is a service road which could provide convenient access for scenery and goods. Above all, the site was large enough to provide a spread- ing form of plan that is particularly desirable for a building with so many different types of use and where sound insulation between these uses is critical. Although the model of the building looks remarkably simple, it contains a large amount of varied and highly specialised accommodation. Some idea of this can be gained by considering the programme. First of all the building has to accommodate two separate schools: Music and Drama. Each school re- qﬁxes areas for both performance and teaching. Drama needs a working theatre to seat 400 and all the supporting dressing rooms, scenery stores, etc. Music has to have a concert hall seating around 400 people. But Drama also requires a studio theatre, and Music a recital room. Each of these to accommodate an audience of about 100. ‘ These then are the major volumes within the building. But they have to be related to their separate departments and teaching areas. In the case of Drama, seven acting rooms, two voice rooms and two rooms for movement. ' Music requires 42 teaching rooms, special rooms for ensemble, percussion, organ, etc. and no less than 48 practice rooms. In addition, a television studio, library, lecture theatre are shared be- tween departments and an organisation of this size obviously requires ade— quate provision for administration, board rooms, staff and student common rooms and dining areas. The architectural problem is clear. How can such a complex set of require— ments be organised into the tight pattern of relationships that will make the building work? The model illustrates the first step. Within that complex list of accommo— dation it is clear ﬂum the theatre, the concert hall will require the largest volumes. The studio theatre and recital rooms also require volume but they are smaller. Early studies demonstrated that these could be most conveniently placed so that they formed a central spine. The model shows how the large volumes rise through the building. The theatre with its fly tower is in the fore— ground at the southern end and the concert hall to the north. Between these two the studio theatre and recital room were placed over each other. The next step flows from this. The advantage of the central spine is that the supporting accommodation can be wrapped around these main volumes so that they form a single block of buildings no more than three storeys in height. The requirements of both schools are contained within a single overall form. The two schools can be separate but interrelated. But one major advantage is that the auditoria are protected from external noise by the enclosing bands of teaching and supporting accommodation. This idea of nesting auditoria within an encircling band of rooms had been used in other buildings from my studio (particularly in the Cambridge Music School). These had worked well. The large volumes of the spine could have their separate structural systems. The smaller units of the enclosing rooms have a sound-proof cross wall system, and their external wall position allows all rooms to have natural light and a pleasant environment.