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RHWL submits £1.5m arts centre overhaul plans

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[First look + plans + project data] RHWL Arts Team has submitted a planning application for this 520m² scheme to revamp the Tara Arts theatre in Earlsfield, London

Inspired by the Tara Art’s Asian roots, the project upgrades the existing theatre building’s capacity to 100 seats and creates a more flexible space for performance.

A new rehearsal space and improved audience and staff accessibility was also included in the project.

Under the plans the theatre’s original Garratt Lane terrace frontage will be retained with a ‘box’ addition constructed to provide upper level accommodation.

RHWL Arts Team director Julian Middleton said: ‘The new structure has been inspired by Asian arts and designed to set up a contrast with the existing Victorian terrace: creating an interplay between east and west, old and new, theatricality and urban context, bringing the theatre’s artistic output to its street frontage.

RHWL's Tara Arts redevelopment scheme in Earlsfield, London

RHWL’s Tara Arts redevelopment scheme in Earlsfield, London

‘Uniting these elements, we have drawn on the “tree of life” or “tree of knowledge” which appears in many traditions and borders the railway embankment adjoining Tara Arts. Trees have offered a place to meet in many cultures, often becoming a focus of community life. Here we have wrapped the tree design around the theatre to create the same symbolic effect and a landmark within the local community.’

Tara Arts artistic director Jatinder Verma said: ‘356 Garratt Lane is home to Tara Arts, its audiences, artists and staff.  After 30 years of hard use, it is time to renovate our home to provide more comfortable, energy-efficient and inspiring facilities. Theatres are places where communities come together to tell and share stories: in the 21st, we believe they need to be intimate, comfortable and inspiring spaces as well.’

He added: ‘RHWL Arts Team’s design reflects our vision to create an imaginative fusion of the global and the local – from the external design to the configuration of the performance, rehearsal and public spaces. The banyan tree theme is an inspired motif and perfectly complements our earth floor performance space — the only one in the country.’

Tara Arts has operated out of a converted Victorian terrace in Earlsfield since 1983, hosting theatre, comedy, poetry and other events.

The redevelopment is planned to start in spring 2013 and complete by early 2014.


Project data


Architects:RHWL Arts Team
Location: Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, London
Type Of Project: Theatre refurbishment and extension
Structural Engineers: Jane Wernick Associates
Project Architect: RHWL Arts Team
Design Team: All design and architecture work is being undertaken by RHWL Arts Team
Client:Tara Arts
Funding:Primarily supported by Arts Council England capital funding but also internal fundraising.
Tender date: Tender date for main contractor to be confirmed – anticipated for January/February 2013
Start on site date: To be confirmed – anticipated for April/May 2013
Contract duration: Anticipated 10 months
Gross internal floor area: Total 520 sq m (the existing building is 350 sq m)
Form of contract and/or procurement: To be confirmed
Total cost: Approximate construction cost of £1.5m
M&E consultant: Atelier10
Quantity surveyor: Davis Langdon / AECOM
Planning supervisor: To be confirmed
Lighting consultant: Atelier10
Main contractor: To be confirmed
Selected subcontractors and suppliers: To be confirmed
Annual co2 emissions: To be confirmed

RHWL's Tara Arts redevelopment scheme in Earlsfield, London

RHWL’s Tara Arts redevelopment scheme in Earlsfield, London

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