News and Features

Notes on the design…

Nicholas Hare, lead architect of the new Production Hub currently under construction, shares his thoughts on the design of the new building.

Nicholas Hare, lead architect of the new Production Hub currently under construction, shares his thoughts on the design of the new building.

Our design for the Production Hub has three main aims: first, to provide an excellent working environment for the different creative groups who will use the building; second, to achieve a building whose form and appearance are likely to enhance its external environment; and third, to make it as efficient and sustainable as possible. It is worth noting that the buildings it is replacing were not good in any of these respects.

While the second of these aims may be a matter of subjective judgement, generally all three support each other. For instance, carefully designed window openings will give the optimal amount of daylight for the interior, avoid overheating from sunlight (requiring energy consuming cooling) and probably look right.

The workspaces in the two-storey structure are arranged around a double-height central space, which itself will be used for assembling large items constructed in the workshops around it. The space has generous roof lights and will help to create a sense of unity and identity for those working in the building, including those working in the costumes department on the first floor. This effect will be enhanced by the first floor tearoom, and faces both into the central space and across to the opera house itself.

Good lighting is critical for many of the activities, especially perhaps for wig-making and costume making. The whole design seeks to maximise the use of daylight, using roof lights as well as windows and providing blinds where they will be needed to control glare from the sun. This combination should provide the most pleasant and efficient light for work, and minimise energy consumption. The electric lighting has been carefully designed with the same aims. A similar approach has been taken with ventilation, which as far as possible will be provided by passive means, so that mechanical ventilation will only be used in highly populated areas like the rehearsal room.

These energy-saving measures, combined with electricity sourced from the wind turbine, have helped the design to achieve an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating. Another factor has been the extensive use of timber. The roof is formed of CLT (cross-laminated timber) panels that will be visible from the interior, while the external cladding is of dark grey stained ‘Accoya’ boards. These consist of quite ordinary timber that has been treated to stabilise them and give them longer life. We hope that this material, combined with the orderly form of the new building, will mean that it makes a positive contribution to the Glyndebourne site, and particularly to the experience of visitors who will see it when they arrive by car.

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