Millar + Howard Workshop architects design facility for circus skills training

Millar + Howard Workshop architects design facility for circus skills training

A planning application has been submitted for the only purpose-built circus skills training space in Gloucestershire, designed by Millar + Howard Workshop.

circus skills

© Millar + Howard Workshop

The proposals for the transformation of the New Mercury Building in Cinderford, Gloucestershire designed by award-winning, local architect Millar + Howard Workshop will include an additional space which celebrates light, height and movement for a locally celebrated circus school and other performance arts users run by Cinderford Artspace.

circus skills

© Millar + Howard Workshop

Architect Tomas Millar, founding director of Millar + Howard Workshop said: “The expression of structure is as much about suspending the acrobats as it is about holding up the building. With an emphasis on natural light and ventilation, we’ve incorporated internal side balconies to the new training space to give the feeling of watching from within the gantry while simultaneously creating a performance space adding flexibility to the utilisation of the building as a whole.”

The application also proposes adapting the current space to accommodate more community art and craft workshops, a cafe and accessibility. With a focus on a simple yet honest use of materials, this proposition would provide a practical and robust structure which as Tomas Millar stated: “Reflects the ethos of Cinderford Artspace: the new spaces would work both individually and together as a united whole to properly serve the diverse range of individuals and groups who use the building.”

circus skills

© Millar + Howard Workshop

Artspace’s Artistic Director Sally Gibson added: “We’re so pleased to get to this milestone stage of this project. Artspace is a crucial amenity to so many and these new and adapted facilities will make an immeasurably positive impact on all our users which is currently over 10,000 a year.”

Millar + Howard Workshop used Virtual Reality (VR) to assist with the design of this building and also used this technology during the public consultation process. Sally Gibson confirmed: “The use of the VR headset provided stakeholders with a real sense of what the new space would look and feel like to actually be in. The experience Millar + Howard Workshop provided helped them become fully engaged and supportive of all the adaptations.

circus skills

© Millar + Howard Workshop

The response to the intended changes, has been overwhelmingly positive from the local community indicating how vital the facility is to its community. Both Artspace and Millar + Howard Workshop made extra efforts to involve the people who will ultimately use the venue.

Sally Gibson explained: “Children, young adults and adults, some with challenging physical, emotional or mental health issues, all use the facility for a broad range of activities. Accommodating all these aspects was our main aim and something we have been able to achieve in the plans.”

circus skills

© Millar + Howard Workshop

Tomas Millar continued: “This has been a collaborative process and we’ve enjoyed working with those who currently use the space, in order to design something that can be used to its full potential and enjoyed for generations to come.”

BUILDING FACTS

Location: Cinderford, Gloucestershire

Current gross internal floor area: 419sqm

Proposed gross internal floor area: 543sqm

Client: Cinderford Artspace

Architect: Millar + Howard Workshop

Building Control: Cook Brown

Planning officer & Council: Jo Gallagher, Forest of Dean

Structural engineer: O’Brian Price

M&E consultant: National Design Consultancy

QS: Adams Fletcher & Partners

Acoustician: Mach Acoustics

www.mhworkshop.co.uk

Jade Tilley
Jade Tilley
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