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Work nears completion on Keith Williams' Canterbury showstopper

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These are the latest shots of Keith Williams Architects’ soon-to-complete Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury

Set to open in October, the project features a 1,200-seat auditorium with balconies, flytower and orchestra pit, a 150-seat secondary space, a café, bars, along with rehearsal and backstage facilities and a three storey foyer.

Won in competition in 2007, the 4,850m² scheme next to the River Stour replaces a 1930s cinema building.

The project had initially been scheduled to complete last autumn (2010). Read a technical study of the theatre design here.

Project data

Start on site April 2009
Completion date Autumn 2011
Estimated annual CO2 emissions 32.7kg/m2
Form of procurement Design and Build
Gross internal area 4,800m2 (approx)
Cost per m2 £5,416
Total cost £26 million
Client Canterbury City Council
Architect Keith Williams Architects
Structural engineer Buro Happold
M&E and lighting consultant Max Fordham
Quantity surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall
Theatre consultant Charcoalblue
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown Associates
Fire consultant Buro Happold: FEDRA
Landscape and Ecology Consultant Lloyd Bore
Current BREEAM rating Very Good

Previous story (AJ 09.03.07)

Keith Williams gets to work on another theatre - image

Keith Williams has been handed yet another theatre project after winning the concept design competition for the proposed revamp and extension of the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, Kent.

William’s practice saw off entries from Levitt Bernstein, RHWL, John McAslan and Burrell Foley Fisher to win the £24 million scheme in the heart of the historic cathedral city.

Contest organiser Canterbury City Council was impressed by the firm’s ‘radical proposal’ to ‘sweep away’ the front of the existing building - originally opened as a cinema in 1933.

The Art Deco facade will be replaced by a multi-level glazed foyer which Williams describes as ‘a crystal ribbon sitting in contrast to the [neighbouring] medieval and Georgian architecture’.

The winning designs also include plans to add a second, 200-seat theatre and expand the main 1,200-seat auditorium.

Rebuilt back-stage facilities, a remodelled flytower and new foyers and bars are among the other proposals.

Williams said: ‘Naturally, I am delighted that I have won this prestigious competition and I am looking forward to developing our concepts with the city council and their partners to produce a world-class theatre for Canterbury.’

Work on site is expected to start in January 2009 and the ‘transformed’ Marlowe is due to open in autumn 2010.

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