Even the best planned construction projects can have twists and turns we didn’t expect. And sometimes, they’re outright complicated. Whether you’re building underground, at high altitude or even in space, we have to do our best work using the most efficient methods possible. No project better represents this than the Bloomsbury Theatre upgrade project.
Theatres, well any buildings at all, need upgrades and changes all the time. Theatres often have complex issues relating to protection from heritage foundations.
Nicholas Hare Architects have been charged with the job of designing the £12m refurbishment of the Bloomsbury Theatre.
What makes this project tricky?
Well, the Bloomsbury Theatre project first and foremost needs to be undertaken without any disruption to the nearby services. Even if those nearby services are above and below the theatre in the same building. As well as the sports grounds and classrooms in buildings on either side.
"Nicholas Hare Architects have been charged with the job of designing the £12m refurbishment of the Bloomsbury Theatre."
Yep, you heard us right! Located on the University College London campus, this keyhole surgery of a construction project is going to need some major planning.
Designed in 1968, the Bloomsbury Theatre, once known as the Central Collegiate Building, was supposed to be a multipurpose recreational space for the students of UCL. As well as a gym and cafeteria, the building was home to the signature piece, the Bloomsbury Theatre.
Whilst the university does not provide drama or theatre education, it is used as a receiving house for travelling performances and extracurricular student performances. So why the big maintenance job? Even though the project was ultimately a success there are some drawbacks to the initial designs. For instance the entrance and foyer spaces are narrow and create congestion. Not to mention the structural complexity of having a theatre space sandwiched amongst so many other facilities, each requiring their own special structural requirements.
The project has been careful to maintain the 1960s style that it was conceived with. So whilst it was already complicated, the fire escapes attached and services running alongside the theatre could not be disrupted.
"The complexity of having a theatre space sandwiched among so many other facilities, each requiring their own special structural requirements has made for a tricky project."
But, with proper planning and efficient building methods the project was indeed possible and the finished project looks fantastic. The minimal disruption was also a credit to the project and its workers.
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