Heart Of Dance


The Duchess of Cornwall opens new Royal Academy of Dance HQ in Battersea

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has formally opened the new £19.5 million (GDV) state-of-the-art Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) global headquarters, which is located at the £260 million (GDV) Coda development at York Place, a flagship project by investor-developer Avanton.

Her Royal Highness toured of the new building with RAD Chief Executive Luke Rittner CBE and RAD President Dame Darcey Bussell DBE and met Avanton CEO Omer Weinberger. The Duchess was introduced to RAD students, watched a dance presentation in the brand-new studio theatre, looked at a Silver Swans ballet class for learners aged over 55 and met participants from the RADiate programme – which provides subsidised inclusive dance classes designed to develop the physicality and boost the self-esteem of children and young people with additional learning needs.

The Duchess then unveiled a commemorative plaque, officially opening the new Royal Academy of Dance headquarters. Her Royal Highness unveiled the plaque, made from solid oak by The Oak and Rope Company, the same Kent-based small business that created the hand-crafted garden swing gifted to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding day.

The new global headquarters for RAD encompass the entire ground floor of Coda, the new 60,000 sq. ft headquarters will harness the transformational power of dance to reach more people, regardless of age, ability, or location. The enhanced education and training facilities for students and teachers includes seven large dance studios, a 193-seat performance space, a café and a RAD shop. Accessed from York Road, a large entrance lobby with ceiling heights of 4.5 metres welcomes the RAD’s students, teachers, partners and local residents.

Also on display for the first time in its 100+ year history is a fully accessible archive showcasing the RAD’s extraordinary collection of 75,000 artefacts, books, programmes, letters, relics and costumes, which can be viewed by appointment with the RAD’s archivist.

Designed by Pankaj Patel MBE of multi-award-winning practice Patel Taylor, the £260 million (GDV) development is located on a large 2.1-acre island site between York Road and York Place, with an architecturally striking central residential tower, known as Coda, which provides 130 private sale apartments and penthouses which are now almost 70% sold. Inspired by Battersea’s Victorian mansion blocks, the two buildings on either side of the tower are six and 11 storeys and provide 169 homes for PRS Apartments managed by A2Dominion.

The three apartment buildings sit on a raised podium above the new RAD facilities on the ground floor, with the podium roof providing landscaped residents’ gardens designed by RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal-winner Exterior Architecture.

Avanton has installed a central Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system to heat both RAD’s headquarters and the apartments above, which meets continuous demand with an average carbon emission reduction of 45% against the Building Control baseline. There are solar panels on the residential roofs, with a generating capability of 59,102 KWh per year which is the energy equivalent of over 2 million hours of laptop use or over 500,000 uses of a kettle.

Coda’s basement car parking supports electric car charging with 25 vehicle charging points and infrastructure for a further 25, alongside 515 secure bicycle storage spaces. For every resident at Coda, there is also a free 3-year subscription to Zipcar to encourage car sharing to reduce London’s emission. To support local biodiversity, Coda’s brickwork façade seamlessly incorporates bird boxes, and there are bird feeders in the podium garden’s landscaping.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall said: “'As the very proud Vice-Patron of the RAD, I would like to congratulate everybody who has made this wonderful new building possible. Having had a very short tour of it, seeing its complete magnificence, it’s just doing so much for so many young people and old people like me.”

Dame Darcey Bussell, DBE, President of the RAD said: “This marks the start of an important new chapter for the RAD. By way of our high quality classical ballet training, our teachers empower hundreds of thousands of young people annually worldwide and spread the joy of dance across the community. The RAD is a British cultural export to treasure and these new headquarters will be so inspiring for all. As President, I could not be more proud and thankful to everyone who has made this happen.”

Omer Weinberger, Chief Executive Officer at Avanton said: “At Avanton we are dedicated to creating exceptional homes for Londoners and bringing together new communities in the process. Coda is our flagship scheme that embodies the expertise and craftmanship that is key to each of our developments. The formal opening of the Royal Academy of Dance is a key step in Coda becoming a cultural hub for the local Battersea community and a new destination for young Londoners to live and thrive.”

Luke Rittner, Chief Executive at RAD said: “We are delighted with our new global headquarters in Battersea. Not only is it a fitting new home for the RAD for the next 100 years, it is a home for dance, for everyone - it is a new dance destination for London.”

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