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Haworth Tompkins lands first major international job with US theatre win

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Haworth Tompkins has won a competition to design a new home for the American Repertory Theatre (ART) at Harvard University, Massachusetts – the firm’s first significant overseas commission

The AJ100 practice defeated an undisclosed shortlist of UK and US firms to win the contract.

The appointment comes five years after it won the Stirling Prize for its Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, and six months after co-founder Steve Tompkins was named the most influential person in British theatre.

ART’s Terrie and Bradley Bloom artistic director Diane Paulus (pictured with Tompkins), said: ‘Haworth Tompkins’ reputation precedes it as one of the great architectural studios of our time.

‘Their work – including the Young Vic in London and the recent transformation of the Battersea Arts Centre – reflects the dynamic, transformational energy that is at the core of any theatrical event.

‘Drawing on its experience in sustainable design and urban development, Haworth Tompkins also profoundly understands the role that theatres can play within our cities and communities.

‘It is committed to the values that animate our work at ART, and I look forward to working with Tompkins and the team to create a building that exemplifies our shared vision of the theatre as a town hall for the 21st century.’

Tompkins said: ‘We are delighted to be joining the ART and Harvard University in imagining the new centre for theatre research and performance at Allston.

‘Our shared vision for the project is multifaceted: we will aim to create an inspiring environment for making and experiencing theatre; an enduring cultural asset for the university; a positive contributor to the richness and diversity of Allston; an exemplar of environmentally responsible design; and a welcoming place of entertainment, reflection, and debate for the whole community.’

ART is a not-for-profit theatre located on the western fringes of the Harvard campus. It was founded in 1980 by American theatre critic Robert Brustein, and focuses on new original theatre and musical-theatre.

The project follows a ‘transformative gift’ by David E Goel and Stacey L Goel in February. The new headquarters will be constructed within the 145ha Allston campus located across the Charles River from Harvard’s historic Cambridge campus in Boston.

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