Central School of Speech and Drama
At the heart of the Central School of Speech and Drama's site is the school's own theatre, surrounded by various additions built in the last decade. It all looked rather ad hoc and piecemeal, a brick block here, a concrete workshop building there. Something radical had to happen, in terms of both volume and design. The school needed space, and a lot of it. It also had no architectural identity and this too had to change. The site is truly inhospitable, even by urban London standards: it has an irregular footprint and faces a busy traffic junction lined with large, mediocre building blocks. To resist intense noise and urban hardness, the building needed to be bold and confident. And so it is. A tightly spaced and subtly coloured glass fašade to the west is held together by solid volumes of dark engineering brick and shiny zinc. This excitement drops upon entering the building, where there is no architectural drama, no detail to speak of and, apart from a little timid orange, no colour.