Laban Dance Centre Case Study

Brief information of the site and building:
Location: Deptford Creek, Southeast London
Latitude/Longitude: +51˚21'48.89", -0˚1'8.30"
HDD, CDD; annual precipitation: mild climate, 23 inches
Building type: Center for Contemporary Dance
Square footage; 88,264 square feet; 3 stories
Completion date: February 2003
Client: Laban Centre
Design team: Herzog & de Meuron, London associates

The building consists of three stories of nearly 90 meters long and 60 meters wide. The space divides the public and private area well, only staff and students are allowed to be in the private area. The whole structure is mainly supported by the circular-sectioned concrete columns and solid supportive concrete walls.

The image below shows the plan of the Laban Dance Centre and the supports of the itself. The red represents the circular columns and the blue is supportive concrete walls.

The public space inside 


The circular columns

There are two identical staircases connecting the spaces between all 3 floors

The section

Before the building was build, the site was a rubbish dump on a muddy tidal creek, which means that it was a contaminated land. Therefore an extensive decontamination was required before the construction began. 

How the land is planned after the decontamination

The overall shape of the building is designed to have a square shaped plan with one side curving towards the entrance. One of its purpose is to make the visitors feel welcomed and hugged.

The most significant part of the design is the innovative use of poly-carbonate cladding for the facade. By using this material the designer could be able to use a wide range of colour. Also, since this material is semi-translucent, light could be brought into the interior. At the same time, the gap between the cladding and the interior glass windows are acting like a insulator of heat, minimizing the heat lost to the outside. Just like the concept of a double-glazed glass window.

Some detail of the polycarbonate cladding

There is one important feature of the design that people will not find out when they visit the dance centre. It is the "Brown roof" design of this building. The Laban Dance Centre is the first building that designed to has a brown roof. A brown roof is made of crushed concrete, it allows plants to grow on top and also it is a natural habitat of the black redstart birds which are very rarely seen in the UK. The vivid colours, grass pitch and the natural environment created on the roof had really matched and suited the purpose of this building, health and nature.

Overall the building's design had used a minimal volume of concrete, therefore it has a relatively light weight. In order to have sufficient support, columns and supportive walls are not required as much and could organized in a less dense arrangement comparing to a heavy building such as the Royal Festival Hall which the whole structure consists of reinforced concrete.

These short case studies document a selection of action research projects undertaken as part of Teach Through Music; teachers report and reflect upon changes they have made in their classroom practice, and the impact this has had on pupils.

More case studies will be posted here throughout Spring 2016, each announced via the Teach Through Music and Music Excellence London twitter pages. 

An overview of the case studies undertaken throughout Teach Through Music can be found here.

“Feedback from SLT and internal ofsted links have been very positive. The work will also be developed to meet the needs of ‘Best Work’ –a whole school policy” – TTM Teacher Case Study

  • Realistic Whole School Singing How can I improve the quality and quantity of singing at both Key Stage 3 and across the school? – Rachael Adediran, Skinners Academy, Hackney

  • Broken to UnbrokenHow do you engage female and unbroken voices in high-quality singing as a male teacher? - Ben Reeve, Mulberry School for Girls, Tower Hamlets

  • Pathways in to ComposingHow do you overcome a lack of confidence in composing? - Frances Robinson, Conisborough College, Lewisham

“Groups were much more able to work in a focused manner, independently; [I observed] an increase in dialogue from quieter members of the group; I saw problem-solving skills developing/being used as students were able to assess their work more easily; [My approach] encouraged students to consider ‘higher level’ issues e.g. balance, dynamics, and timbre”
- Quote from TTM Teacher Case Study


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