St John’s College, Oxford – Auditorium

Project Overview:

PSP were appointed by St. John’s College to provide full quantity surveying services on a project to convert their existing 1990s auditorium into a high-end and fully accessible performance space. The refurbishment required installation of specialist production lighting, sound system, audio-visual, electro-acoustics as well as a new mechanised extendable stage. Internally the auditorium was entirely reconfigured in a style sympathetic to the elaborate style of the existing building.

The Design:

The auditorium is a very well used facility both for internal College use and for conferences and needed to be upgraded to allow high quality productions of multiple types from theatre, to lectures and music recitals. The original building complex was very stylised and required very sensitive refurbishment to improve the facility’s performance, capacity and accessibility whilst maintaining it’s unique charm and maintaining consistency with the other buildings in the complex. This included exposed precast concrete gallery walls with bespoke bronze and brass balustrades, a steel framed raked seating platform as well as the specialist performance and services fit out.

Construction Characteristics:

The original pre-cast concrete structure, constrained access through the precast concrete courtyard and special features, such as walls of bespoke art glass and ceiling art to the central dome made the project relatively complex to design and manage on site. The new installations include:

  • A new steel and timber frame supporting the auditorium galleries, ramps and raking seating platform
  • Facetted and curved pre-cast concrete walls, with decorative timber inserts
  • Bespoke bronze and brass balustrades decorate the upper seating levels
  • A bespoke acoustic chandelier, disc and pillow hangs at a high level to improve acoustic performance
  • A custom-made platform lift allows inclusive access to the main seating rake
  • Replacement of M&E systems with a new attenuated ventilation system
  • Specialist theatre lighting, AV equipment and electro-acoustic systems
  • Mechanised stage extension lift to provides a deeper stage and more integration with the audience

Procurement Process:

The project was procured traditionally under a JCT Intermediate Building Contract 2011 with Contractor’s Design elements. Thorough interviews were carried out post tender to ensure the project complexity was fully understood and included in the tender pricing and programming.

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