The initial brief was to reinstate the theatre after the removal of asbestos, whilst coinciding improvements to the existing seating and incorporating improvements to the foyer. After compiling a feasibility study, we identified several further improvements to be made, including to the counterweight fly system and accessibility to the fly floor and loading gallery.
An improved, safer technical level has been installed in the auditorium, along with new orchestra elevators and a replacement of the existing screw-jacks with modern elevator mechanics. This allows elevator 1 to be a double stacked structure, providing the client with a full pit and simultaneous four stage extension. Provision was also put in place to allow for a storage corridor beneath elevator 2. The old 60mm counterweight fly bars were replaced with an industry standard 48mm Vierendeel truss.
The reinstatements to the theatre involved removing the previous requirement for a demountable structure, therefore in turn abolishing the additional labour associated with this. A number of further improvements have been made in areas such as acoustics, seating accessibility, the follow spot and control room, dimmer count, and the refurbishment of the existing Front of House winches.
Throughout the process, an impressive list of new equipment was introduced to the space, including a new dimmer/rack room, ventilation system, house lighting scheme, permanent control desk, and the introduction of acoustic reflectors and wall linings along with an entire stage lighting and audio-visual technical infrastructure.
University College, London
Nicholas Hare Architects