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Posted 06.04.17

Tate Modern premiere for ‘The Red House’ film

By Phillip Buchan

The Red House, Plymouth School of Creative Arts.

Architectural practice Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBStudios) have created a new film ‘The Red House’, about the award-winning school building, home to Plymouth School of Creative Arts and founded by Plymouth College of Art in 2013.

Looking through the eyes of children and staff to capture both the philosophy and everyday life of the school, ‘The Red House’ film premiered in London at Tate Modern as part of the Making Learning symposium.

Directed by former BBC documentary film director Clare Hughes, the nine-minute film features interviews with: Andy Theobald, Partner at FCBStudios who won RIBA South West Project Architect of the Year in 2016 for his work on The Red House; Dave Strudwick, Headteacher of Plymouth School of Creative Arts; and Professor Andrew Brewerton, Principal of Plymouth College of Art and Chair of Governors at Plymouth School of Creative Arts.

Clare Hughes, a Partner at FCBStudios said: "As a former filmmaker for the BBC it is now my great privilege to work for an architecture practice where I use film to communicate the importance of design in education and the arts."

The Red House as a school building offers agile, open-plan studio spaces rather than traditional classrooms, mirroring the radical pedagogic structure of teaching within the school. These transparent areas are designed to both inspire students and provoke staff to work in new ways. Standing as a gateway into Plymouth from the ferry port, it acts as a symbol of regeneration and is now the new social focus of the community in Millbay.

"Plymouth School of Creative Arts are one of the most inspiring clients we have ever had the pleasure of collaborating with and the making of this film was as life-enhancing as making the school itself."

— Clare Hughes, Partner at FCBStudios

Speaking of the founding of Plymouth School of Creative Arts, Professor Andrew Brewerton said:

"The space of learning offers or withdraws the possibility of learning. With its art college ethos, our school needed a particular kind of learning environment, in which open discursive studio spaces and specialist workshops are complemented by sprung dance floors, a theatre auditorium, science and technology labs and separate kitchen facilities for school dinners and culinary art. As a formative principle, space does not contain energy, it is energy that creates space."

In 2016 The Red House won the RIBA South West Award, and was shortlisted for Building Magazine Project of the Year and Architect’s Journal’s international Building of the Year AJ100 award, among many others.

Plymouth School of Creative Arts was founded as a radical new kind of mainstream city centre 3–16 all-through Free School that, together with Plymouth College of Art, has established a progressive continuum of creative learning and practice from age three to Masters level study and beyond.

At the formal opening of The Red House, Director of Tate Sir Nicholas Serota hailed the school and creative continuum project as "an event in the history of education in this country". The Red House was designed by FCBStudios, an architectural practice renowned for their inspirational arts and education architectural buildings, which include art universities, galleries and exhibition spaces such as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

©Hufton and Crow, Open plan studio and work spaces in The Red House, Plymouth School of Creative Arts.

The school, which has already been rated Good by Ofsted inspectors, acts as a site for pedagogical innovation in creative learning and as a catalyst for community regeneration in Plymouth's Millbay docklands, an area which includes amongst the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country.

The building is used during evenings and weekends by a wide variety of local community groups, providing a space for people of different ages and backgrounds to work together, meet, share ideas and inspire each other.