Parabola Arts Centre

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Location: Cheltenham

Client: The Cheltenham Ladies' College

Project Year: 2009

Cost: Over £2m

The Parabola Arts Centre provides a state of the art 325-seat theatre and performing arts centre for The Cheltenham Ladies’ College. The centre comprises a new auditorium building, linked to a refurbished Grade II* listed Regency villa, constructed in 1840. The new building is used by the College for drama, music and dance, and by the local community for external events such as the Cheltenham Festivals.

The design falls into three parts, comprising:
• The original house, restored to provide foyers,
backstage areas and teaching space
• A new auditorium extension at the rear, replacing a
former 1970s office extension
• A glazed link, containing a lift and stairs, connecting
the new extension to the house

We employed a number of visual devices and treatments to enable the new building to sit successfully within its neighbourhood. The oval shape minimises the perceived mass of the extension and the external walls are constructed in Bath stone, prevalent in Cheltenham.

The design of the curved walls are articulated in a language, which reflects the neighbouring Grade II* listed buildings, but expressed in a contemporary manner with minimal decoration.

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Inside the auditorium

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Inside the refurbished listed building

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