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Armagh arts centre takes a bow

Armagh's £6 million theatre and arts centre officially opened to the public on 29 April. Designed by Glenn Howells Architects for Armagh City and District Council, the project includes a 400-seat main auditorium, a 150-seat studio theatre, art studios, an art gallery, workshops, cafe-bars and a restaurant.

A double-height entrance canopy projects into Market Square to the south and leads to a glass-fronted concourse which links the different parts of the building. Areas which do not require traditional fenestration, such as the gallery and art studio which are small cellular spaces, are dug deep into the hillside to the west of the site, while the raked floor of the theatre follows the natural fall of the site to the east. The building uses passive cooling via hollow precast concrete floor and roof slabs which also incorporate light fittings and electrical services. Bespoke cast stone elements used in the construction respond to the limestone buildings which characterise Armagh.

The project was carried out with Dewhurst Macfarlane as structural engineer, Fulcrum Consulting as services engineer, Gilbert-Ash as contractor and the Back Group and WH Stephens as quantity surveyors.

John Wyckham Associates was the acoustic consultant for the theatre, and Nicholas Pearson Associates designed the landscaping.

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