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Haworth Tompkins moors new-build alongside National Theatre

Haworth Tompkins this week submitted proposals to overhaul Denys Lasdun’s 1976 National Theatre on London’s South Bank

The £70 million project will improve access to the Grade II*-listed building and create a café, a rooftop garden and a workshop.

Practice director Steve Tompkins said: ‘The project came out of the desire to make the whole building more welcoming and the whole operation more communicative to the outside world.’

The north-east corner – currently a goods yard – will contain a recessed café and a new entrance addressing the westward flow of traffic. A visitor centre will be added to the Cottesloe Theatre’s entrance and a back-of-house walkway will allow visitors to move internally between the Cottesloe and Lyttelton theatres.

The project’s new-build element is a four-storey workshop featuring aluminium mullions at 600mm intervals with a glazed ground-floor plinth. Visitors approaching from the Upper Ground road will be able to see prop-makers and set designers at work.

‘The workshop is a lightweight vessel moored along the dockside of the existing building,’ said Tompkins, emphasising the practice’s sympathetic approach to the ‘hermetic’ National Theatre. ‘It would be wrong to completely break down the solidity of the structure.’

A planning decision is expected from Lambeth Council in the autumn.

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