Specifier Review

Arts & Media Campus gets Ash & Lacy treatment

Kendal College, a further education college in the Lake District, has recently undergone a significant investment in the form of a new Technical Studio. The purpose-built performance space cost £1.1million and Ash & Lacy was involved from an early stage.

Ash & Lacy worked alongside architects Taylor Young with the initial concept stage through to the supply of the slate and honeycomb panels to ensure the feasibility of the design. The building is located in a conservation area in close proximity to a 15th century Grade I listed building, so it was integral to the design that these elements were taken into consideration to create a building that was sympathetic to its surroundings.

‘The Black Box’, as the new performance space is nick-named, is situated on the Arts & Media campus of Kendal College where all the art, design, media and expressive arts courses take place. There is seating for up to 120 people and it provides a dedicated, professional theatre space for the performing arts and technical theatre students.

Ash & Lacy worked with Taylor Young to ensure the feasibility of the project, as it is such an unusual design. ‘The Black Box’ is a twisted cube shape that is covered in slate composite panels fitted to the exterior, which creates a dramatic visual impact for the visitors to Kendal College. The modern design is  in contrast to the rural setting, but the materials that have been used are traditional and in keeping with the history of the local area.   

As well as contributing significantly to the design of the building, Ash & Lacy supplied Lingrid 3 slate and honeycomb panels and Aerostone backing structure.  Traditional materials such as slate and limestone have been used with impressive results. The slate was quarried locally from Burlington Stone in Cumbria using two different finishes to create a striking two-tone effect.  The two finishes used were Kirkby Blue Grey in a flamed finish and Bursting Stone, honed finish slate, which were supplied in three different widths to give the effect. 


Ray Harriman, Managing Director of Ash & Lacy commented ‘The success of this project lies in the fact that the design takes location and context into consideration. The materials used reflect the history of the area and the twisted cubic form mirrors not only the rural environment but also the performing arts that the building houses.’

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