Theatr Clwyd receives Listed Building and Planning Consent 13.09.21

Theatr Clwyd has received listed building consent for the major redevelopment of their base in Mold, north Wales. The theatre, built in 1976 and Grade II listed in 2019, will be reconfigured and updated by repurposing the existing fabric and demolishing and replacing only what is necessary. The Inspector of Historic Buildings concluded that our proposals are ‘very much in the spirit and vision of the original concept’ representing ‘an attractive and well-designed scheme which will allow the building to function in a more modern and efficient way to allow for its preservation and continued use’. Work is due to begin on site next year.

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We are delighted to announce that our plans for a new performing arts center for the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University have received unanimous approval by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA).

Home of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, the new David E. and Stacey L. Goel Center for Creativity & Performance is designed to be a building that lifts the heart, inspires creativity, centers community, and welcomes people of all backgrounds. Created in close collaboration between A.R.T., Harvard University, Haworth Tompkins, ARC, and Charcoalblue, the Center for Creativity & Performance will be a place for public gathering, international research, teaching, and groundbreaking theatrical production. The center consists of an interconnected family of adaptable, multi-use spaces designed to embrace future change and support creativity. As one of America’s leading cultural organizations, housed within the world’s top research institution, the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Center for Creativity & Performance at Harvard University is well-placed to offer a model for the next generation of cultural architecture by encompassing the core principles of openness, artistic flexibility, collaboration and sustainability and regenerative design.

The design responds to a world in transition, one in which cultural organizations have needed to rapidly evolve towards a more holistic mission in response to public health crises, movements for greater equality, growing political polarization, and climate and biodiversity emergencies. Beyond the production and presentation of theater, A.R.T. is seeking to achieve more with less intensive resources; to be an agent of change for a healthier population, both physically and psychologically; and to contribute towards a society that can thrive without breaching planetary boundaries. Made largely of timber and incorporating leading edge regenerative design thinking, the building is designed to be more supple, more porous, more adaptable, and more responsive. Over the course of the design process, the building has undergone continuous refinement to dovetail the spatial and urban program with the existing Allston neighborhood, the emerging urban plan, and A.R.T.’s developing organizational vision to craft a sequence of spaces that are not only flexible, scalable, and technically sophisticated but also welcoming and democratic. This approach will empower A.R.T. to engage with the communities of Allston, Cambridge, Boston, and the broader networks of cultural research and theatrical production.

“Theatre is about exploring our shared humanity in a space where people of all backgrounds come together and are invited to open their hearts. Through an inspiring and collaborative design process, our building aims to extend that open invitation to Allston and the wider world, and to provide a framework that supports the expansion of creative practices within a radical yet simple architecture of adaptable space, natural tactile materials, fresh air and light.” Roger Watts, Director, Haworth Tompkins

The refurbishment of the Warburg Institute has now entered the third and final phase of construction. This phase will see the opening up of the Ground and Lower Ground Floors, to accommodate a new entrance foyer and open plan exhibition space, sitting adjacent to a new 140 seat lecture theatre, housed in a new build extension within the rear courtyard.

The new lecture theatre will feature an elliptical ceiling beam, cast in situ with the exposed concrete frame. The elliptical shape, which had great meaning for Aby Warburg, references the elliptical roof lights in the reading room of the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg (KBW) in Hamburg. The complex formwork has been machine-fabricated off-site and will be positioned and reinforced by the on-site team prior to casting with self-compacting concrete.

Elsewhere on the Ground Floor, the Institute’s frieze of the nine muses has now been taken offsite for specialist restoration by Taylor Pearce Ltd. The frieze was originally located on the façade of a row of Georgian townhouses that previously occupied the site but was preserved when the Institute was built and mounted into the wall in the lobby area. The frieze is made from a material called Coade stone and is said to be a copy of a Greek Roman sarcophagus decoration that is now part of the Louvre’s collection. Once restored, the frieze will be resurrected within the new entrance foyer, for the enjoyment of future generations.

We are delighted to announce that our plans for Canning Town Old Library have received unanimous planning approval and Listed Building Consent from the Newham Local Development Committee. Proposals for the new ‘Newham Heritage Centre’ cover the repair and re-purpose of the Grade II listed library to provide a range of Council-led facilities including an archive, digital media suite, flexible exhibition space, café and learning and outreach spaces. Both the design proposals and associated activities planned within the building are in response to extensive feedback from residents and heritage service users collected over the last 3 years.

Alongside the refurbishment, the unique heritage of the building will be sensitively restored. Extensive work will be undertaken to retrofit the building to make it more climate-efficient, aiming to drastically cut energy use. These will include internal alterations, improved insulation, replacement windows, roof lights and doors, and the installation of solar panels, heat pumps and a new mechanical ventilation system. In addition to this, two extensions are planned; one to include an archival store, built to the highest modern conservation standards, the other to house a new lift and stair which will improve accessibility. With new electrical and mechanical services planned throughout, the building will host a range of digital and audio-visual installations for the first time firmly bringing this Victorian building into the 21st century.

The proposed material palette for the two extensions has been chosen to complement the existing material palette, while offering a counterpoint to the historic fabric and a clear delineation between the existing building and the proposed extensions. As there is no potential for windows openings into the store, a high-quality anodised aluminium cladding is proposed with vertical fins, adding rhythm, depth and interest to the façade. We look forward to progressing this exciting cultural and heritage project and bringing it back in to community use for the residents of Canning Town.

Haworth Tompkins has worked with University College London (UCL), University of London (UoL) and the UCL Slade School of Fine Art to deliver the refurbishment of eight top-lit painting studios in the Bloomsbury area of London. Designed in the 1950s by Charles Holden as gallery spaces for the Courtauld Institute, the studios sit on the top floor of the Warburg Institute building but are accessed by a dedicated entrance and stairwell.

A glazed roof and laylight ceiling provide filtered natural light, creating ideal conditions for painting and sculpture, while retaining maximum available wall space for display. The spaces have been called ‘home’ by generations of students at the Slade. We have refined and refreshed the interiors with respect for the integrity of the original design. New heating, lighting and ventilation systems are carefully incorporated to improve the studio’s energy efficiency and user comfort to contemporary building standards. These sensitive refinements give the studios a new lease of life, providing refreshed creative spaces for generations of students to come.

We are honoured to have been selected, alongside our project team, Citizen Design Bureau, Office Sian, LDA Design, Heyne Tillett Steel and XCO2 as part of Be First’s ambitious new architecture framework together with 7 other exemplary design teams. We are looking forward to supporting Be First with their vision to build up to 4,000 high-quality, socially rented homes in Barking and Dagenham.

We are also delighted to be collaborating with Be First on the third phase of the Gascoigne West masterplan and to be part of the landmark redevelopment of the Gascoigne neighbourhood. Our proposals provide 137 high-quality, inclusive new homes for rent, shared gardens for residents and a new co-designed community park delivered in collaboration with Citizens Design Bureau and LDA Design.

The scheme focusses on improving the local streetscape, including opening up new connections and greening of routes that link together various neighbourhoods within the estate, earlier phases of the masterplan, and the nearby River Roding. Sustainable, future proof and healthy design sits at the heart of the design approach, and Be First’s design aspirations for a well-connected, high-quality, net zero neighbourhood. This will be the second project that Haworth Tompkins has undertaken for Be First in Barking, and we look forward to working together again.

Associate Director Will Mesher was recently invited to join an NLA panel talk: Green performance: making cultural buildings sustainable, alongside Buro Happold and Heyne Tillet Steel. Using our Theatr Clwyd project as a case study, Will presented our sustainable approach, where existing spaces will be upgraded and insulated to allow the theatre to run on 100% renewable electricity via Air Source Heat Pumps, LED lighting and extensive on-site PVs. The project aims to be an exemplar of 21st century cultural space.

Thank you to the NLA and fellow panel members, it was a pleasure to be part of an interesting and engaging evening, sharing our expertise to further the conversation on the challenges of retrofitting theatres, museums and cultural venues and their flexible and operational needs in the long-term.

Director Lucy Picardo recently attended the ITEAC Conference at Savoy Place in London as part of a panel discussing the sustainability challenges in theatre design. Lucy discussed our major redevelopment of Theatre Clwyd in North Wales which brings a currently unsustainable 1970’s building back into the 21st Century, opening up the theatre more fully to the surrounding landscape and community and employs sustainable measures throughout.

Our Malmo Stadsteater project was also showcased at the conference as part of a ‘designing for communities’ panel. Designed in collaboration with White Arkitekter, the project reopens the theatre to the life of the city and welcomes communities back into the building.

It was a pleasure to be part of the ITEAC conference alongside leaders in the field of imagining and making the spaces and places in which we experience performance.

Our Custom House kickstart project in Newham has picked up a Housing Design Award. As part of a wider masterplan by Adam Khan Architects and East, the project delivers 95 affordable homes designed to Passivhaus standards, commercial space, community growing space, communal gardens and high-quality accessible public realm. Both the buildings and the public realm have been designed around the much-loved mature trees lining the high street. A big thankyou to the team and collaborators.