The National Theatre Studio was the first purpose-built theatre workshop in the country when completed in 1958 by architects Lyons Israel Ellis. In 2005 it was Grade II listed as a seminal work of English Brutalism, but was seriously dilapidated and struggled to live up to its reputation as the 'engine room' of British theatre.
“...this exemplary project by Haworth Tompkins of a 1950s brutalist masterpiece ensures its future as the National Theatre's secret ideas laboratory. ”
Ellis Woodman, Building Design
Haworth Tompkins won a competition in 2004 to renovate the building and extend it with two rehearsal studios, a new publicly-accessible archive for the National Theatre, an education centre, and private study rooms for writers. The aim was to transform the National Theatre Studio into a centre for writers, directors and other theatre practitioners to develop new work and test ideas.
The redevelopment aimed to retain the robust practicality of the original design, while opening the building up to a greater diversity of theatrical experiment. At the heart of the Studio, the old scenery painting wall was left drenched in paint, glitter, glue and all kinds of other 'stuff', as a visually striking feature on every level of the building. This was used to define both the spaces around it and a newly-rationalised main circulation route.
National Theatre Studio
Address: 83-101 The Cut, London
Completion Date: November 2008
Construction Cost: £4.5M
Client: National Theatre
Contractor: Rise Contracts
Structural Engineer: Price and Myers LLP
Services Engineer: Max Fordham LLP
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon
Theatre Consultant: Charcoalblue
Acoustic Engineer: Paul Gillieron Acoustic Design
Access Consultant: All Clear Designs Ltd
Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award (Finalist)
RICS London Award (Shortlist)