Great Hall Swansea University. Credit: Arup; Great Hall Swansea University. Credit: Arup;

Sir Stanley Clarke Auditorium, Swansea, South Wales

Newly built 700-seat hall, forming the heart of Swansea University’s new Bay Campus

The Sir Stanley Clarke Auditorium in Swansea University’s Great Hall is the university’s fine new concert hall and multi-purpose teaching and events space. Clad in American Walnut, and comfortably holding up to 700 people, the auditorium is a fitting expression of the university’s creative ambitions. The auditorium bar and terrace have spectacular views over the sweep of Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel.

Arup’s venues, acoustics and building services specialists designed the hall in collaboration with Powell Dobson Architects, Mac Interiors and developers St. Modwen to be the creative heart of the university’s ambitious new Bay Campus. It will be the new home for the university music programme and will also host a wide range of other educational and commercial activities. Its flexible acoustics and technical systems are designed to support everything from chamber orchestras and choral performances, through to contemporary music, lectures, conferences, awards, graduation ceremonies, exams and banquets.

Arup was appointed directly by Swansea University to develop the auditorium’s venue, acoustic and building services design.

Achieving acoustic excellence

The university specifically requested our acoustic design team because of the quality of our previous work at Dora Stoutzker Hall at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and Milton Court at Guildhall School of Music. Integrating concert hall acoustic and performance requirements into the existing building shell proved challenging. There were very stringent limits on building mass and imposed loads. A creative approach to the design of the acoustic finishes, particularly the upper side walls, delivered a great acoustic within the existing structural design.

The Great Hall is at the heart of our new campus and is a central hub for students, staff and visitors, to come together to celebrate not just science and innovation but also culture and arts in a truly magnificent auditorium.
Professor Iwan Davies Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Swansea University

Delivering flexibility

Our Venue design team maximised the performance and operational capabilities of the existing building shell. The resulting ultra-flexible space was designed for a wide range of functions:

  • end-on configuration for concerts and degree presentations

  • reduced end-on configuration to host awards ceremonies and film screenings

  • thrust stage that has a catwalk allowing for fashion shows

  • flat-floor capability for in-the-round performances, exams, fresher’s fairs, exhibitions.

The resulting building is highly flexible and the auditorium can be used for a wide range of events.