Culture and heritage
Product / system manufacture
Product / system supply
South East England
JB Western Red Cedar shingles
The Greek Theatre at Bradfield College, Berkshire dates back to the 1890s and is world-renowned as an amphitheatre for hosting plays in Ancient Greek. In 2009 it was condemned after falling into disrepair causing safety issues and access problems.
Architects Studio Octopi were chosen to restore the building to ensure that it was brought back to life and preserved as a key feature of the English garden setting. At the heart of it was a purpose-built wooden skene, complete with a cedar-shingle-clad roof and elements of vertical shingle cladding.
Studio Octopi chose Marley Shingles for their natural durability and due to the site’s environmental conditions. In the depths of the old chalk quarry (in which the theatre is set), the temperature can be more than three degrees lower than the ground temperature. During winter, conditions in the woodland theatre can be damp, with little sunlight. The characteristics of the cedar shingles will resist the weather conditions and provide natural durability and weathering.
Western red cedar shingles are a renewable and sustainable roofing and cladding material, with one of the lowest carbon footprints of any widely used building product. They are light for transport and therefore make savings in supporting structures; they also offer a high degree of thermal insulation. JB Shingles are treated with a clear preservative treatment, MicroPro®, to retain the natural look of cedar.
Architect Chris Romer-Lee of Studio Octopi said: “The vision for the project was that the landscape would take back the theatre and that the natural materials would weather away to become a ‘lost theatre’. The metalwork has been designed to support plant growth to further blend into the woodland.
“We were very specific about the intricacies, and it was a pleasure to watch the skill of the roofer installing the shingles, hands stained by the natural tannins of the wood, working with such skill to achieve the highly detailed junctions.”