Bennetts Associates has released new photographs of the revamp of its 11-year-old Hampstead Theatre in north-west London
The practice returned to the 2003 RIBA Award-winner in Swiss Cottage this summer to renovate the building’s foyer ahead of its reopening in September.
Responding to a surge in theatre-goers, the practice has improved circulation routes by shifting a staircase and joining the lower two floors, as well as relocating entrance doors, the cloak room and the box office.
The theatre also wanted to encourage the numbers of day-time café visitors. Panels of rosewood veneer were added to the existing cement and steel interiors and the bar was completely redesigned with improved lighting and a lower foyer floor finish.
Bennetts Associates collaborated with Michael Howells, a set designer of Hampstead Theatre, on the design which now includes a wall exhibiting sketchbooks and costumes.
Simon Erridge, director at Bennetts Associates said: ‘It was interesting to go back; architects don’t usually get a chance to do that.
‘We had to make sure the theatre had a commercial attraction – it’s much more a kind of coffee bar-type space now.
Architects don’t usually get a chance to go back to a project
He added: ‘The use of timber was one of the things they were keen on for a continuation with the timber in the existing building, so we used rosewood which is quite luxurious and high-quality.’
The director of operations and associate producer at Hampstead Theatre, Neil Morris, said: ‘The audience experience at Hampstead Theatre has been completely transformed. Hampstead Theatre can now fully realise its mission to entertain the world with originality. We are delighted to have collaborated with Bennetts once again to create a truly exciting, world-class space.’
Completed in 2003, Hampstead Theatre was the first in London to be built specifically for the purpose of producing contemporary plays and the first freestanding theatre to be built in London since the National Theatre in 1975.