Barber Institute Concert Hall, Birmingham, Building, Architect, Image, Info, Design
Barber Institute Concert Hall Birmingham : Architecture
Development by Glen Howells Architects in the Midlands, England
5 Dec 2008
Barber Institute Concert Hall
Glenn Howells Architects complete restoration of Grade II listed concert hall
Glenn Howells Architects have completed phase one of careful restoration work to the Grade II listed Barber Institute Concert Hall at The University of Birmingham.
The Barber Institute was designed by Robert Atkinson, one of Britain’s leading architects in the 20’s and 30’s and was opened in 1939. From the beginning, it was envisaged that the Institute would promote the study and encouragement of art and music for the benefit of the University of Birmingham and the wider public.
The restoration work aims to permanently improve accesibility for all users and preserve the fabric and structure of the auditorium space for ongoing use as an active performance space.
Considerable care was taken to secure both the precious artworks housed at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts Gallery and the health and safety of visitors to the building since the refurbishment took place whilst the site remained open to the public.
Glenn Howells Architects worked closely with a specialist to restore the large walnut and maple veneer panels on the walls and stage doors and restored the existing floors in keeping with the conservation plan. The original seating was reupholstered with similar materials and techniques using a close match to the original wool fabric.
A paint analysis of the ceiling’s paint layers established the original colour scheme. It was decided that this colour scheme was appropriate to reinstate in the restoration works. A specially dyed velvet acoustic stage curtain and pelmet were installed to replicate the originals.
Lead architect, Helen Newman of Glenn Howells Architects said:
“Securing the upkeep of the Grade II listed Barber Institute and subtlety adapting the interior to meet modern expectations of comfort and accessibility was the fundamental aim of the restoration project. The Barber Institute is a much enjoyed recreation facility for the people of Birmingham and therefore it was key that visitors were able to continue their enjoyment of the building while the work was in progress.”
Today the Barber Institute still houses the facilities it was originally designed to accommodate, retaining its rich creative tradition of being a home to the music department and visual arts department which can be enjoyed and studied in the same building. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts houses one of the finest small collections of European art in the UK.
A second phase of the project will include a re-design of the lighting scheme and a new ventilation system.
Barber Institute Concert Hall Restoration image / information received 051208
Barber Institute Concert Hall design : Glenn Howells Architects
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