Battersea Arts Centre

  • © Fred Howarth
  • © Haworth Tompkins
  • © Fred Howarth
  • © Fred Howarth
  • © Fred Howarth
  • © Fred Howarth
  • © Haworth Tompkins
  • © Philip Vile
  • © Philip Vile
  • © Philip Vile
  • © Fred Howarth
  • © Philip Vile
  • © Philip Vile
  • © Alex Brenner
  • © Morley von Sternberg
  • © Fred Howarth
  • © Nicholas Hartwright
  • © Haworth Tompkins
  • © Fred Haworth
  • © Philip Vile

Application Type

AABC Conservation

Level of Award

Award

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Wandsworth

Information about this scheme

Envisioned as an improvisatory collaboration with artists, theatre producers and locals, the client brief for Battersea Arts Centre was for creative and community activity; in response to this, Haworth Tompkins have increased the number of performance spaces from 4 to 35, incorporated artists’ bedrooms, a new rooftop office and staff garden, a creative business hub, a community garden and a courtyard theatre.

Architect and client worked as equal partners throughout the process, sharing design authorship and inviting creative collaborations; since 2006, a series of experimental phased projects have transformed the building into an adaptive performance environment and community centre.

Building works progressed incrementally, beginning with alterations to the café and foyer. In the context of this incremental, narrative approach, the rebuilding of the Grand Hall after the 2015 fire that partially destroyed it was assimilated as another, albeit highly significant, project.

The surviving structural brick shell has been stabilised and repaired to support reconstructed roofs, while the pattern of the original decorative fibrous plaster barrel vaulted ceiling, lost in the fire, has inspired a new plywood lattice ceiling which springs from the flanking walls and follows the same curvature as the original. New technical infrastructure concealed in the roofspace above the lattice ceiling allows natural ventilation, greater theatrical possibility and a variable acoustic to suit a range of events.

The surfaces of the walls of the hall and its surrounding corridors have been conserved ‘as-found’ in their extraordinary, almost Pompeiian post-fire richness and complexity, illuminated by pendant lamps designed by Haworth Tompkins and product designer Rob McIntyre. Throughout, the materials palette is largely in response to the former town hall’s rich history; a new bar installation by artist Jake Tilson records the evidence of the 2015 Grand Hall fire, as do the scarred, unrestored walls of the hall itself.

Credits

Architect

Haworth Tompkins

Client

Battersea Arts Centre

Main Contractor

8Build

Structural Engineer

Heyne Tillett Steel

Services Engineer

Skelly & Couch

Acoustic Engineer

Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design

Lighting Design

Haworth Tompkins / Robert McIntyre

Main Contractor

Gilbert Ash

Main Contractor

Ashe

Structural Engineer

Price & Myers

Services Engineer

XCO2

Acoustic Engineer

Soundspace Design

Theatre Consultant

Theatreplan

Collaborating Artist

Jake Tilson

Quantity Surveyor

Bristow Johnson

Other

PFB Construction Management Services (CDM Advisor)

Other

Approved Inspector Services (Approved building inspector)

Other

Wandsorth Council (Approved building inspector)

Project Manager

Battersea Arts Centre

Primary Use Class

Class D1g - Public Hall or Exhibition Centre