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performing studio in an urban centre

Part 1 Project 2003
Asako Nishimura
Tala Akkawi
University of Westminster | UK
The project is not about teaching dance or dramatic art but it is a place where itinerant artist (displaced, visiting or travelling) can play, practice, perform and communicate/teach. The project also include a residential element, private practice areas and communal nodes where the impromptu aspects of performance can be nourished and shared with the public.


- plot in urban centre

- a place to accommodate public gathering

- to liberate in the firmness composed by implication of order

- a recess pause for public to fill in


- it is a place that blends performing arts (dance and drama) and the public experiencing it

- it is a mediation of two sides to show and to be shown

concept idea

- the concept that drives the scheme is 'landscape'

- the lines that respond and communicate to exisitng urban built environment create a series of tiered, stepped and ramped floors, and levels

- out of this landscape emerge a theatre, an accommodation, studio and a cafe library.

Asako Nishimura
Tala Akkawi

The project, set in the second semester in Studio4, focused upon designing a facility for music, dance and/or film. Asako chose to concentrate on dance and dramatic art.

The site in Blandford Street gave students the opportunity to deal with particular issues of scale and streetscape within an urban setting.

Our field trip took the students to Paris where we were welcomed at the Conservatoire of Music at Parc de la Villette and also at the Cite de la Musique both by Christian de Portzamparc. The urban parks of Bercy and Citrone were also studied. Back in London a visit to the Royal Academy of Music, and self directed visits to a variety of dance studios and film clubs was undertaken.

A series of beautiful and wide ranging studies of both place and culture, with interpretive models, which carefully analysed links with film and movement render up a particularly private and personal response to this project.

Slightly de-contextual in its reaction to location, this complex design for a dance and dramatic art facility ranged over a number of floors. The entrance is down into the semi-basement area and it is here that Asako locates the dance studios, open-air stage, photogaph gallery, auditorium and stage. The main circulation spine splits the accommodation in two as it rises through the building and culminates with a top-lit theatre with balconies, which look out over the roof tops of west London.

Asako's work is both thoughtful and delightful and challenged many of the studios pre-conceptions in respect of urban repair. Her complex design, together with her drawings and models, enchanted external examiners with its delicacy and vision.


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