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Balcony detail, Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres, by Bennetts Associates

[Working Detail 29.09.11] Auditorium balcony detail at the RSC

The architecture of the auditorium is not simply a backdrop; there is often direct physical contact with the actors, who are as likely to climb its walls and hammer on its metalwork (a satisfying reverberation results) as they are to quietly eavesdrop from the shelter of one of its galleries. Materials are left deliberately raw, with the steelwork used as-found in the yard. The cutting and grinding of the fabrication process is evident on every surface.

Click on the image above to view full size detail

Click on the image above to view full size detail

The visible structural members create human scale and intimacy, just as they did in the theatres of Shakespeare’s time, and the columns which support the two balconies frame views of the stage. Each column is fabricated from four angle-sections, chosen for their slenderness, articulation of surface and ability to neatly house a variety of structural connections.

The surrounding beams, ties and bracing members come together at the column in a series of bolted cluster-details, which also accommodate the angular variations of the auditorium’s 11-sided geometry.

Simon Erridge, director, Bennetts Associates

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