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Lipton Plant approval sets stage for Islington youth theatre centre

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Lipton Plant Architects has won permission to convert a former mirror factory in Islington, north London, into a theatre and community facility for Big House, a charity for at-risk young people

The building in Englefield Road will provide a 79m² office for the charity, 168m² of offices to rent out to other organisations, as well as 222m² of performance space.

The only external changes to the dilapidated building are replacement windows on both elevations facing a courtyard and the insertion of a new door; while inside, the practice says, moveable pieces of ‘furniture’ will ‘generate a flexibility within a permanent envelope’.

A statement from the practice said: ‘A dusty old mirror reflects to create a distorted image. There is a duality of sameness and difference between the object and the reflection; in the world of theatre, a duality is one of opposites.

‘The scheme plays upon these dualities and this is expressed through the juxtaposition of new elements within the existing fabric.’

A report by Islington Council planning officers said: ‘The benefits of the proposed development (including the use of a vacant site and, in particular, the community benefits offered by the scheme) have been considered in the final balance of planning considerations, along with the shortcomings of the proposed development (which include some neighbour amenity impacts).’

The Big House Theatre Company, known as The Big House, is a charity set up in 2012, providing rehabilitation support and guidance for young people who have left the care system.

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Project data

Location Englefield Road, London, N1
Type of project Mixed-use youth centre
Client The Big House Theatre Company
Architect Lipton Plant Architects
Planning consultant Firstplan
Services Mala Engineering
Structural Fairhurst
Acoustic Hans Tucker Design
Tender date To be confirmed
Planning Approval June 2018
Start on site date 2018-19
Completion date 2020-21
Contract duration Approximately 1-2 years
Gross internal floor area 610m²
Total cost To be confirmed

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