The new Performance Hub is an exciting development which has enabled the University of Wolverhampton to integrate their music, dance and drama schools into one location, with all performance students now based on the Walsall Campus. The £17.1 million three storey state-of-the-art general teaching accommodation includes a specialist Performance Arts Centre and new Learning Centre, enhancing the University’s growing Performing Arts reputation. Having taken delivery of over £400,000 worth of Steinway pianos, the University is only the third University in the UK to achieve the highly coveted “All Steinway School” status and one of only 138 universities with this distinction in the world, testament to the quality of the new building.
Faithful+Gould provided quantity surveying, employer’s agent and CDM co-ordination services. The School of Sports, Performing Arts & Leisure had been operating across both the Wolverhampton and Walsall campuses until the new facility was built. The building on the Walsall campus dated back to the 1960s and provided inadequate facilities for the University’s growing Performance Arts department. The old building had to be demolished before the construction of the new Performance Hub could take place.
The rationale was to maximise the economic impact of the growing creative sector, address a historical under-performance in the West Midlands and help with talent retention. There was also a joint aim of replacing the existing Walsall Campus Learning Centre, creating an innovative, space efficient, multi-purpose building where learning could take place without the traditional boundaries between formal and informal learning spaces. The technical challenge was to create a multi-functional building where learning could take place, without the various noise intensive activities encroaching on each other. There was also a requirement for quiet zones where theoretical learning could occur and which had to be free from disturbances. A solution was engineered which enabled the provision of separate, acoustically sensitive spaces which limited breakout; but also provided the creative freedom essential to the students’ development.
The new Performance Hub is a strong focal point for the University and has a high profile vantage point towards the local community. The University of Wolverhampton will now be able to unite actors, choreographers, designers, writers, researchers, dancers, theatre practitioners and musicians into one creative space, attracting some of the most promising talent to the area. The iconic building has been praised for its high architectural quality and achieved a BREEAM Very Good rating.