Bedford Campus Centre, University of Bedfordshire, UK
Bedford’s 1960’s Polhill Campus has been expanded to incorporate departments previously housed in the city centre. The need for a focus for staff, students and visitors was never stronger. The brief is ambitious, a school for the performing arts, a base for the humanities generally, campus administration, marketing and recruitment, and the refreshment of the whole campus; a complex set of spaces very closely juxtaposed. Acoustic and even olfactory isolation between the various activities is essential. Bedford’s hope for another public theatre is also fulfilled. The main auditorium, seating 285, replicates the Bedford Bowen West flat floor stage with a shallow forestage but lifts the seating rake and gives it a parabolic section to improve sightlines and audience-actor contact.