The Double Dream of Spring
The Dovecot Studio forms part of the internationally renowned music campus at Snape Maltings founded by Benjamin Britten in derelict industrial buildings on the Suffolk coast. Britten was inspired by the almost abstract landscape of the reedbeds at the boundary between the land and the sea: the ruins of a nineteenth century dovecot sit directly on this boundary looking out across the marshes. The Dovecot Studio inhabits the ruins and expresses the internal volume of the Victorian structure as a Cor-ten steel lining a monocoque welded structure that was built next to the ruin and craned in when complete. The building is fully welded in a single piece like the hull of a ship to achieve weather tightness and then fitted with a simple plywood inner lining. A large north light roof window provides even light for artists while a small mezzanine platform with a writing desk incorporates a fully opening glazed corner window that gives long views over the marshes towards the sea. The single volume will be used by artists in residence (it can operate as a simple bedsitting room with a compact kitchen) by musicians as rehearsal or performance space (there is a large opening door to an adjoining courtyard) by staff for meetings or as a temporary exhibition space.
The cabaret featured spoken word, dance and music. The soirees were often raucous events with artists experimenting with new forms of performance, such as sound poetry and simultaneous poetry. Mirroring the maelstrom of World War I raging around it, the art it exhibited was often chaotic and brutal. On at least one occasion, the audience attacked the Cabaret’s stage. Though the Cabaret was to be the birthplace of the Dadaist movement, it featured artists from every sector of the avant-garde, including Futurism’s Marinetti. The Cabaret exhibited radically experimental artists, many of whom went on to change the face of their artistic disciplines; featured artists included Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Giorgio de Chirico, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, and Max Ernst.