Rubicon Dance School

The proposed Rubicon Dance building will act as a dramatic showcase for the dancing inside, bringing the activity within out into public life.


  • Use: Culture
  • Location: Cardiff, Wales
  • Size: GIA 2500m²
  • Date: 2013


  • Architects: vPPR Architects
  • Partner architects (Wales): Loyne and Co
  • Business consultant: DCA

“Dance to me is freedom. It is a way to connect my heart with my external body. Dance is liberating, creative and a way of communication that transcends all barriers. The world needs more dancing.”

“Dance is a way of life, living, creativity, fitness, joy, interaction with other people, learning, a community with a shared interest, art, teaching and sharing ideas with people, watching young people dance makes me cry, the physicality, friends, the unknown, music, open heart, stress reliever, a discovery, choreography, bringing the best out of people, finding new ways, trying.”


vPPR Architects were appointed alongside Loyn & Co to produce a vision for the future of Rubicon Dance in Cardiff, Wales. The proposed centre will involve a radical refurbishment of the Gaeity Building and is defined by a central picture window that reveals the dancing inside to the outside world.

As visitors approach the centre, new landscaping and entrances will draw them to the activity contained within, with an external staircase connecting all floors, creating a journey across the building. Two sculptural elements flank the main entrance, comprised of the Gaiety’s original iconic turrets.

As you move up the building, the first floor acts a plinth, with new openings cut into the existing structure, revealing the dancing inside. A raised terrace, designed for outdoor performances, oversails the car park and connects to a lift core topped with a glowing Rubicon sign, which becomes a beacon in the night. Three glass boxes sit on top of the floors below, housing studios filled with natural daylight and allowing more light to access the lower levels between gaps in the volumes.

Site Plan

Interior spaces have been arranged in a simple layout to allow for easy movement throughout the building. Benches run round the public spaces, allowing for informal meetings and tutorials. A café is split over ground and mezzanine level with double height spaces, connected by a spiral staircase.

Learning facilities including a common room, archive/library, large lecture room, and costume storage are connected to the primary dance area; positioned at the front of the building to create a connection to the street through the new window on the facade. The three studios at the top each accommodate different types of dance classes and have dramatic views out over the surrounding area.

This proposal presents a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere, as well an iconic building for Rubicon Dance to become a National Centre of Excellence for Community Dance.

Proposed Axonometric
Proposed Axonometric Exploded
Dance group artwork made in workshop
Dance group artwork made in workshop
Workshop feedback