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Hoskins unwraps new HQ for National Theatre of Scotland

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Hoskins Architects has completed the £6.5 million new building for the National Theatre of Scotland in Glasgow


Sitting on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal, the 3,700m2 building brings together various departments of the theatre which had previously been scattered in several different locations. 

The scheme redevelops a disused industrial warehouse into three rehearsal rooms, a learning and community suite, a production workshop and technical store, a home for the theatre’s wardrobe department, and offices and social spaces. 

Externally the building is clad in sinusoidal metal while internally a limited palette of materials including white walls, polished concrete and an exposed steel structure, is employed. 

Ground floor plan

National Theatre of Scotland by Hoskins Architects

National Theatre of Scotland by Hoskins Architects

First floor plan

National Theatre of Scotland by Hoskins Architects

National Theatre of Scotland by Hoskins Architects

Architect’s view 

In keeping with the National Theatre of Scotland’s declaration of being a ‘Theatre Without Walls’ – committed to performing to diverse geographic audiences and engaging with the community - this new facility will not host public performances, but rather will be a creative engine room for the Company. Rockvilla will facilitate their expansion nationally and internationally, and will continue to reinvigorate a part of Glasgow that is fast becoming its cultural quarter. 

The retention of the structural warehouse frame creates a typically factory-like form; a new biomass boiler enclosure adjacent being the only additional footprint on the site. The building is clad in sinusoidal metal, a material synonymous with the industrial aesthetic, appropriate for the vision of a ‘creative factory’ and in keeping with the history of the site. 

The elevation is defined by the careful arrangement of openings and cladding into four distinct bands, creating a calm, controlled façade. The use of a limited palette of materials internally (white walls and a polished concrete ground floor with an exposed steel structure, existing and new) continues the raw aesthetic while meeting the performance requirements of a modern theatre company. 

Visual connections – often by way of high-performance acoustic glazing – between the different departments, including the rehearsal spaces, is key to the design and bringing together a company who have never before been housed under the same roof. An internal double-height atrium allows light deep into the plan, and creates a social space where the paths of full-time staff cross with the large number of transient company members, such as actors visiting for rehearsals. 

The first floor open-plan office with distinct areas for informal discussions and rooms for meetings, reflects the company ethos of openness and collaboration, and has panoramic views back over the canal to the city centre beyond. 

National Theatre of Scotland by Hoskins Architects

National Theatre of Scotland by Hoskins Architects

Project data 

Location Speirs Wharf, Glasgow
Type of project cultural
Client National Theatre of Scotland
Architect Hoskins Architects
Structural engineer Woolgar Hunter
M&E consultant Atelier Ten
Quantity surveyor Thomas & Adamson
Principal designer (CDM) Thomas & Adamson
Lighting consultant Atelier Ten
Main contractor Luddon Construction
Funding Scot Government, Glasgow City Council, Vacant and Derelict Land Fund and NTS donation raising
Appointment invited competition
Tender date April 2015
Start on site date November 2015
Completion date November 2016
Contract duration 12 months
Gross internal floor area 3,700m2
Form of contract and/or procurement Design & Build
Total cost £6.475 million

National Theatre of Scotland by Hoskins Architects

National Theatre of Scotland by Hoskins Architects

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