Categories ArchitecturePosted on

Shaftesbury Theatre

SEEN is very happy to announce that the Shaftesbury Theatre has won the Culture & Community Award at the NLA Awards 2016.

SEEN is very happy to announce that the Shaftesbury Theatre has won the Culture & Community Award at the NLA Awards 2016.

The judges commented that the project represents an ‘absolutely stunning addition to the townscape’, with its new fly tower making an enormous difference to events the previously threatened – and temporarily dark – theatre can put on. Judge Peter Murray added that it was a ‘great intervention and a real surprise to see it there. It seems to fit in perfectly’.

seen london BennettsAssociates_1219_main_04-1

A dramatic new flytower has appeared on the skyline of London’s West End. The project entailed building a 35-tonne capacity flytower plus offices and plant on top of an existing theatre that had to remain operational at all times. The tight deadline was the opening of the blockbuster show, Motown, in March 2016.

Shaftesbury Theatre is a prominent listed building with an ornate terracotta façade. The serrated shape of the flytower box forms a dramatic angular volume on the skyline and is fabricated from panels of weathering steel, complementing both the terracotta and the adjoining building’s faience and brickwork.

1219 Shaftesbury Theatre

The grade II listed theatre dates from 1911 and was the last and most northerly of Shaftesbury Avenue’s venues to be completed. Under its current ownership it has built a reputation as a receiving house for large-scale musical theatre, but with the technical demands of productions increasing, the existing timber-framed flytower was increasingly seen as a limitation on the commercial potential of the venue.

A structural solution was devised which would enable a new flytower with a 35-tonne scenery capacity, and much-needed office space to be built. Straddling the existing stage on four steel columns, it had the potential to be independently built above the existing flytower roof, allowing the theatre to operate below during much of the construction period. However, the listed status of the building meant that an innovative architectural solution was demanded which would accommodate the significant new volume whilst complementing the theatre and its setting.

1219 Shaftesbury Theatre

The form of the building was developed in order to create a distinctive contemporary intervention on the theatre’s skyline. With the volume and height fixed by technical constraints, a serrated form was developed which would accommodate windows, smoke vents and other technical requirements within a unified geometry of angular planes.

Seen this week

Categories DesignPosted on

Sculpture in the City, Art for Everyone

SEEN thoroughly enjoyed a preview of the 18 new artworks around the financial district’s square mile. Set up by The City of London in 2010, this excellent initiative expands its footprint every year, improving the area and proving that when people are happy, they work better.

Categories ArtPosted on

Alex Evans at the Foundry Gallery, Chelsea Quarter: LDF17

The astute reader will have noticed that SEEN loves art about London. There are many artists in this city who draw (pun intended) their inspiration from it, none more so than Alex Evans whose fractal renderings hint at the entropic nature of urban life and perhaps also our anxieties and isolation in the 21st century. His latest exhibition ‘Invisible Systems’ can be seen at the Foundry Gallery, tucked away off the King’s Road until 26th October.