01 November 2013

"It's a wonderful design" - Sir Ian McKellan

This is the first camera access into a new theatre built in north London. It is the first theatre to use rooflights in the auditoriums to bring in natural light – the obvious benefits being for the technical staff to be able to work in daylight, the reduction in energy costs, the ability to use the spaces during the day for rehearsals without using loads of energy on lighting, etc.

However, an interesting aspect of this project, was the way that the project team - the architect and client especially - organised the works to minimise spend. This is not a theatre on the cheap, however it is definitely a theatre of the zeitgeist. The theatre was shortlisted for the World Architecture News Performing Spaces 2013 Design Awards.

Key learning points:

  • The benefits of daylight in a theatre in terms of energy and humane conditions
  • Ways of cost-effectively organising a project in a recession
  • Possibilities for using the recessionary climate to create a team
  • The structural issues on a tight site in Greater London
  • The comparative improvement in maintenance on-costs that can been achieved with effort
  • The possibilities for reclaimed materials

About the contributors

David Hughes, Principal, David Hughes Architects specialising in theatre design

Chris Fox, Lighting designer, Hoare Lea Lighting, famous for combining lighting engineering with lighting design.

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