Elmhurst Ballet School, Birmingham

Elmhurst Ballet School, Birmingham

Specifier: Weightman & Bullen
Main contractor: Mowlem Building
Contractor: Unique Industrial Roofing
Type of works: Installation of Ashzip™ standing-seam roofing system providing a high-performance roof whilst creating the feeling of movement, to a purpose-built complex on a 5 acre site.

A prestigious new addition to Birmingham’s landmark buildings has been finished with a roof which demonstrates the versatility of Ash & Lacy’s Ashzip™ standing-seam roof system.

The £17 million Elmhurst Ballet School has relocated to its new Midlands home from Camberley in Surrey, to act as a feeder school for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, which itself moved to the city in 1990. At its new five acre Greenfield site in Edgbaston, Elmhurst; the UK’s oldest dance school, features a purpose-built complex, complete with new academic facilities, a 240 seat studio theatre, seven large dance studios, an exercise centre, a theatre workshop and on-site boarding accommodation for up to 120 pupils.

Some 5,000m2 of Ash & Lacy’s Ashzip™ roofing provides a fitting finish for a significant addition to Birmingham’s architectural landscape. The Alaska Grey finish of the 0.9mm aluminium standing-seam panels provides a striking contrast to the building’s traditional brickwork. On two of the complex’s blocks, straight Ashzip™ panels were installed but the use of different combinations of straight and tapered sheets, the latter in varying widths, on the North and South wings, demonstrates the versatility of Ashzip™ in creating specific shapes. A crescent-shaped roof provides a dramatic feature for the building’s entrance, complete with overhangs to offer shelter to side stairwells, while a different configuration of straight and tapered sheets was also used to create a dagger-shaped roof structure. As the school’s prospectus proclaims, 'the building is a statement in itself and movement has inspired and shaped the design with school life moving, vertically and horizontally, around a central focus;  the dance theatre.'

The Ashzip™ system and the Ashgrid™ spacer-support system which forms an integral part of the Ashzip™ standing-seam roofing package, was a central feature in creating the feeling of movement, providing the flexibility to achieve the desired aesthetics and high performance required.

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