The Soundhouse, the University of Sheffield’s state-of-the-art music practice and studio facility at Sheffield University was conceptually designed by Carey Jones Architects and delivered by Jefferson Sheard Architects is the UK’s first rubber-clad venue, the architecture design that completely enveloped in black rubber – a technique never seen before in the UK. Covering 450 sq m and three storeys in height, the building’s unique black cube structure is set to become a landmark on the university campus, the bold and simple design reflecting the existing inventiveness of the Portobello area.
To create this effect it was necessary to vulcanise the rubber sheets off-site which involved welding 1500mm-wide sheets together to form a single homogenous sheet, with dimensions of 14m x 8m. There were to be four in total, one for each elevation of the building. Each sheet weighed half a ton and a safe system of works was devised for their installation and final fix to the external structure. The rubber membrane was placed under tension similar to the skin on a drum, fixed and then decorated with 100mm diameter stainless steel studs. These studs were adjustable and could be screwed back to the reinforcing plates behind the insulation and rubber quilt, thus compressing the insulation and creating the quilted effect.