University of Kent

Kent, UK580 seats

Audience Systems have worked closely with University FF&E specialists Workplace Group as part of a large refurbishment project at the University of Kent at Canterbury. The University were carrying out a complete redesign of lecture theatres, classrooms and communal areas in the Grimond Building – a building used primarily for teaching, drama and conferences. Audience Systems were subcontracted to Workplace Group to provide auditorium seating for four lecture theatres.

One of the four theatres was to be converted from a traditional fixed lecture theatre to a more flexible space for drama utilising a retractable seating solution. Here, Audience Systems supplied a steeply raked retractable unit to precisely dovetail with new permanent staircases, as well as removable Matrix chairs for the rear gantry. This has provided the University with a space that can not only maximise audience numbers during performances, but also give them the freedom to increase space for classes and rehearsals.

The other three auditoria were to maintain a more traditional lecture theatre style, designed to maximise student numbers without compromising comfort and safety. In all three theatres, Audience Systems installed the Campus lecture theatre system – a combination of comfortable individual chairs and a continuous writing surface.

As part of the overall design, the University’s internal Senior Architect and Designer, Neil Hornsey, requested a random use of three different shades of a specific colour within each theatre, to correspond with the colour themed rooms and to create a contemporary feel throughout the space.

Andrew Simmonds from Workplace Group said, "Workplace Group’s brief was to go out to the market to identify a quality and modern solution to meet the University’s requirement. We chose Audience Systems because they were able to supply a complete package with both retractable and fixed seating, but also due to their attention to detail during the pre sales process. They were very knowledgeable, honest and methodical in their approach. Audience Systems out-performed everyone else during this stage. The installation was well managed; we had a window for the seating installation which could not move. All the team worked very hard, notified me of any problems and met the deadline under tight time constraints. I would recommend Audience Systems."