AJ100 practice Allies and Morrison has bagged planning approval for an extension to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre next to the River Thames
Proposals for the scheme, called Project Prospero, include demolishing existing buildings on the western part of the New Globe Walk site and replacing them with a four-storey building facing Bankside Thames Path.
This new rectilinear building will house library, archive, exhibition and theatre facilities. According to the firm, it is part of the Globe’s ambition to become an ‘international Shakespeare hub’.
The scheme is Allies and Morrison’s second project for Shakespeare’s Globe, having completed the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, a 340-seat candlelit indoor theatre, as well as the refurbishment of the Globe’s foyers, in 2014.
The Globe – a reconstruction of the Elizabethan playhouse used by William Shakespeare – was designed by Theo Crosby of Pentagram and opened in 1997.
Source: Allies and Morrison
The project’s ambition is for the Globe to become an international Shakespeare hub, involving the redevelopment of its library and archive into a world-class research centre and creating a new exhibition centre for its unique collection, serving students, researchers and collaborators from around the world, along with new education studios, a production centre and reinvigorated backstage facilities.
As architects for the project, we are designing a new west block building that will replace an existing temporarily constructed structure adjacent to the Globe Theatre. The new exhibition will be in remodelled basement space with its main entrance through the new building on Bankside. The new structure will also contain a brand new library and archive and will extend into the rear service road to accommodate office and production facilities including set making workshops and dressing rooms serving both the Globe and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Moreover, the project will involve the remodelling of the site-wide existing basement levels to form an entirely new public exhibition and a suite of rehearsal and education studios.
At four storeys, the new building will be a simple rectilinear form, designed in such a way as to recall the industrial buildings which once lined the river on the same spot while also responding to the elegant simplicity of the Globe Theatre itself. Its Thames-facing elevation will contain a public entrance portico set within a framework of oak posts that wraps around the building’s eastern side fronting the Globe Theatre. The lattice of timber and glass will offer a bold, though contextually sensitive, composition, which complements the construction of the circular theatre. The building represents a new openness, which the more enclosed architecture of the Globe and its Jacobean satellite, the Wanamaker Playhouse, preclude. Its façade is complete but open, its surfaces pared away to reveal glazed or open spaces, in which much of the Globe’s work will happen.
170901 project prospero allies and morrison 03 (002)
Source: Allies and Morrison