Modular Auditorium on Innovation of the Year shortlist 23.05.23

Haworth Tompkins has been shortlisted in the Innovation of the Year category at the AJ100 Awards, for the Modular Auditorium most recently used at @sohoplace. The new theatre incorporates a modular, highly flexible auditorium, the latest evolution of a widely-applicable system developed as a research project.

Aware that auditoria are becoming increasingly complex to design from scratch by non-specialist architects, we began studying an off-site fabricated kit of parts that could be assembled in numerous permutations to achieve different capacities, seating formats and staging options, each with dense capacity, excellent sightlines and clear acoustics. We conceived a highly compact, multi-tiered modular steel structure that could be deployed around three or four sides of a central seating, standing or performing space.

Working with specialist stage engineers and manufacturers Tait Towers in the US, we co-developed a detailed 3d digital construction model for the 800-1050 seat Bridge Theatre. The process allowed us to optimise steel weights and weld strengths, significantly reducing the embodied carbon of manufacture and transport compared to conventional stock sections. Wiring runs, ventilation ducts and hard-wired infrastructure were incorporated into the factory-made units, avoiding the need for time-consuming multiple trades on site and enabling a much higher level of quality control.

The system was modularised to container lengths for ease of shipping and assembly on site, allowing international opportunities for the use of a work-tested, highly effective auditorium. It is possible to achieve stand alone, plug-and-play auditoria ranging from 400-1200 seats using the same system. The latest version for the 600 seat @sohoplace, again manufactured by Tait and this time collaborating with Charcoalblue, uses similar modular components and built in infrastructure but allows the surrounding balcony tiers also to be simply demounted via folding wall bracketry, giving even greater levels of staging flexibility.

The result, according to early reaction from critics, actors and audiences, is one of the most intimate and most theatrically potent auditoria of this scale ever built.

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We’re delighted to announce our Fish Island Village project has been shortlisted for the New London Awards 2023 in the Mixed Use Category. The scheme is a mid-rise development comprising 588 mixed tenure dwellings with 5,522m² commercial space across a 2.23-hectare site. A major brownfield regeneration project, it has transformed a site of disused warehouses with a collection of mid-rise buildings interspersed with new public streets and spaces, opening up over 200 metres of previously inaccessible canal frontage.

Three teams of architects worked on the detail design of the buildings; Neptune Wharf by Haworth Tompkins, made up of 17 individual blocks forming 3 clusters, comprising 501 dwellings and 56 commercial and workspace units, opening up into a sequence of courtyards; Lanterna by Lyndon Goode, a standalone building facing a new public square comprising 16 dwellings and a ground floor restaurant and Monier Road by Pitman Tozer, 3 blocks comprising 71 homes and 7 workspace studios. Emerging practice Bureau de Change designed the fit-out of the workspace facilities delivered by The Trampery.

Congratulations to all of the shortlisted teams. Every shortlisted project is also in the running for the People's Choice award, click here to vote.

As part of the youth engagement by ECDC, Haworth Tompkins partnered with Year 5 students from Francis Holland School for an Architecture in Schools series of workshops and model making competition against seven other primary schools in the RBKC area. The programme – organised by Open City, called for an innovative reimagining of the Earl’s Court site through the children’s eyes.

A series of workshops designed to introduce the children to architecture and unleash their creativity culminated in the creation of a multi layered model, created with repurposed materials from everyday objects like postal boxes, soap bottles, and even pebbles from the playground. Each layer of the model represents a different function - VR supermarkets, lakeside parks, a labyrinth of soft play, climbing walls, bingo clubs and an array of colourful flats and houses, provided vertically encouraging all communities to come together.

The children worked together to reimagine how the built environment could become a wonderful collaboration woven with playfulness and an innovative outlook for the future. We were thrilled that our multi-layered model won first place in the vision category and was proudly displayed at ECDC’s Conversation Corner next to the development site.

We are delighted to announce that Barking Industria has reached practical completion on site. Developed for client Be First Regeneration Limited, Industria represents an innovative approach to modern industrial design with the ambition to deliver a building that densifies and diversifies industrial space in a move away from the traditional typology of single-storey, low-density ‘sheds’.

Industria will house a community of light industrial businesses and makers within a modern, sustainable, multi-storey building capable of flexing and adapting to future needs.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the project, it has been a pleasure to work alongside a team committed to pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved when designing industrial spaces.

After over a decade in Kentish Town, Haworth Tompkins is moving back to EC1. Our new home on Golden Lane sits between Old Street and Barbican and will give us flexible space to create, exhibit and host. We look forward to welcoming our friends, clients and collaborators to the studio.

Please note that due to the office move, we are closed for the day on Friday 11th August.

Our plans for work at the Canning Town Old Library have been submitted to the London Borough of Newham for Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent. Proposals for the new 'Newham Heritage Centre' cover the repair and re-purpose of the Grade II listed library, in order to provide a range of Council-led facilities including an archive, digital media suite, flexible exhibition space, café and learning and outreach spaces. In addition to this, two extensions are planned; one to include an archival store, built to conservation standards and the other to house a new lift and stair, which will improve accessibility.

Haworth Tompkins has been chosen by Reading Council as the lead architect on their £13.7 million Hexagon Theatre project. The revitalisation, which sees the creation of a flexible new space for performances and community use, forms the first phase of a longer-term regeneration of the 1970s-built Hexagon. All proposals focus on improved sustainability as part of the Council’s commitment to working towards a net-zero carbon Reading by 2030.

HT Associate Sarah Firth is a judge at this year's Brick Awards, after working on Fish Island Village which won the Urban Regeneration category in 2022. The shortlist has now been revealed and the judging across the 15 categories will take place over the summer, with the awards announced at the ceremony in November.

Signs for Change is a BBC documentary presented by Rose Ayling-Ellis which challenges perceptions of the Deaf community. Christopher Laing and Rose met at the University of Creative Arts Canterbury in 2011 as two of only three Deaf students and have been friends ever since. In a segment filmed at HT's studio, they discuss experiences of Deafness in general and those related to Chris's time in architecture. You can watch the documentary on BBC1 at 9pm on Monday 26 June and afterwards on iPlayer.