6 November 2019
Acoustic design consultancy White Mark has been working closely with Maris Interiors to help move some of the technical facilities at London Southbank University’s Elephant Studios on London Road to a temporary site on nearby Borough Road.
Opened in 2016 by former Chair of the BBC Lord Michael Grade, Elephant Studios at LSBU is a multi-million pound media studio complex that provides cutting-edge facilities to students at LSBU’s School of Arts and Creative Industries. This interlinked space offers high-specification production facilities that are at the forefront of digital technologies and multimedia practice.
However, over the next two years building work being carried out in the basement of the London Road site has rendered some the facilities, especially those that involve audio, unviable for some time. As a result, LSBU decided to move Elephant Studios to a temporary site on Borough Road so that degree students could continue to have access to high quality facilities.
Paul Tulit, project manager at Maris which was tasked with handling the design and build of the Borough Road site, says: “Although this is a temporary space, it was imperative that the technical and teaching facilities were of equal specification to those LSBU was vacating on London Road. White Mark’s knowledge and experience of building film and television facilities helped us deliver this project to the desired level of quality and performance – indeed in most cases we have exceeded the specifications of the London Road facilities.”
Tulit adds that White Mark was chosen as acoustic design partners because the two companies have delivered successful projects together in the past.
“We’ve known the White Mark team for 15 years and have always been very happy working with them,” he says.
Moving Elephant Studios to Borough Road required Maris to build a number of facilities including an Atmos-capable audio dubbing suite, a film studio, a newsroom, a green room and 10 edit and film grading rooms.
White Mark Director Alan Cundell says: “We at White Mark have long felt that students, particularly those in higher education, deserve to use facilities that are designed and built to the same standards as those in the commercial sector, and we were very pleased to be asked by Maris to help deliver such studios for LSBU. We are particularly pleased that, although the brief was for temporary facilities, the decision has been taken to retain the Atmos-capable dubbing studio as a permanent additional resource.”
Although it was important to ensure that technical specifications were met, Paul Tulit says it was equally important to focus on the aesthetics of the building.
“Students spend a large proportion of their time in their place of study and while this may only be a temporary space for LSBU, it could be that a student will spend the majority of his or her course in this temporary space,” he says. “We have been very conscious of this and have included bright, open spaces in our design. The incorporation of colour and graphics all help bring the space to life and will have a positive impact on a students’ mood and productivity. Functional materials have also been used, especially in spaces such as the dubbing suite, to ensure their success.”
London South Bank University began life as the Borough Polytechnic Institute in 1892 and is now one of the oldest universities in central London. Based in the London Borough of Southwark near the South Bank of the river Thames, LSBU caters for over 25,000 students and has a staff of 1,700. The temporary home for Elephant Studio is now open and is already being used by current LSBU students.