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Battersea Arts Centre

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A project to restore and redevelop Battersea Arts Centre is entering its final phase this year.

The Grade II Listed Victorian building has undergone extensive works since 2007 to open up more spaces in the building and encourage those from the local community to get involved with the centre.

Initial phases to redevelop the building has already improved footfall with over 100,000 people visiting Battersea Arts Centre in 2014.

Gilbert Ash acted as the main contractor on the scheme; we spoke to Marcus Baird about what it meant to be involved with the project:

A continuous performance space has been constructed as part of the scheme comprising 12 self contained rooms and a flexible open plan area. An adaptable outdoor performance space has been created in the courtyard as well.

The numbers of artist bedrooms have been increased to nine and all now contain improved facilities. A new creative learning hub has also been created thanks to a reconfiguration of the spaces at the rear of the building. The centre now has extra space for workshops, courses and start-up companies.

The on site team have also installed a new 30 people lift to allow access and circulation across the buildings four levels; the space will also act as a useful performance area in itself. The venues famous Scratch Bar now has new outdoor, landscaped facilities.

Works have been undertaken on the building to restore and maintain its original Victorian features including the mosaic flooring, glass octagonal dome, Grand Hall entrance canopy and the pipe organ.

Before works began on the project design ideas were tested on a small scale to ensure that they worked in practice before being delivered fully.

David Jubb, Artistic Director at Battersea Arts Centre, commented:

“Battersea Arts centre is alive with activity 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From young people developing social enterprises supported by us, to audiences who contribute towards and experience exciting shows with us, to emerging artists who want to test and develop ideas for us. Battersea Arts Centre is a home for everyone who wants to get creative and make change happen. The innovative redevelopment of the building echoes this in every sense; we are opening up spaces to allow ever more people to develop.

Haworth Tompkins are providing the architectural services for the scheme. The London based studio was founded in 1991 by Graham Haworth and Steve Tompkins. The practice has worked with a plethora of clients designing award winning buildings of all scales and types. Clients include the National Theatre, the Liverpool everyman and Playhouse, the Young Vic, the Royal Court, Bath Theatre Royal, English National Opera, The Court Theatre Christchurch New Zealand, The Royal Academy of Dance, Aldeburgh Music and The Really Useful Group. In 2014 Haworth Tompkins won four RIBA Awards, RIBA London Practice of the Tear Award and the RIBA Stirling Prize 2014.

Steve Tompkins, Director of Haworth Tomkins commented on the firm’s involvement with the Battersea Arts Centre project. He said:

“This phase of work is an important milestone in the transformation of the centre. Throughout the long relationship with David Jubb and his team we have found we work in similar ways: instinctively collaborative, willing to take creative risks, happy to improvise and as interested in the creative process as the polished end product.

“We have learned to see the building throughout the eyes of performing artists, beyond the visible spectrum of architectural reason and static completion allowing the artists more creative latitude to inhabit and adapt their spaces and audiences more fun in exploration and discovery. I hope more arts organisations in existing buildings will be encouraged to work in this way.”





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