Royal Opera House ‘Open Up’
Civic Trust Awards
Level of Award
Local Authority Area
Information about this scheme
This prestigious project delivers the Royal Opera House ‘Open Up’ mission to create a welcoming and inclusive cultural hub that attracts new audiences for ballet and opera while respecting its renowned heritage.
The result is a re-energised and democratised venue that encourages increased public engagement through greater street presence and transparency. New world-class performance and public facilities enhance the experience for visitors, staff and performers alike, while extending the life of the building outside of performance hours. The design represents a physical manifestation of cultural change at the Royal Opera House. The architects’ key move has been to extensively reconfigure the previously introverted ground floor by providing substantially more foyer space together with redesigned Bow Street and Covent Garden piazza entrances. Finely crafted from a limited palette of traditional materials including Crema Marfil marble and patinated brass, these foyers create an elegant, all-day setting for new public activities such as cafes, bars, retail, exhibitions and informal performances.
In doing so, these new public spaces allow the Royal Opera House to reveal more of the artistic magic that is usually confined to its stages. At the heart of the project is the new Linbury Theatre. Lined in American black walnut, this auditorium delivers an exemplary, 400- seat second public performance space that also operates as an artistic laboratory for the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet companies. Other interventions provide further interaction with the Covent Garden streetscape. These include a new public terrace above the redesigned Bow Street entrance and a refurbished Amphitheatre Terrace that has been partially enclosed to form an all-year winter garden overlooking the piazza. Both are accessible without performance tickets. In this logistically highly complex project, Stanton Williams worked closely with the Royal Opera House and construction manager Rise to ensure that the venue remained fully operational throughout the three-year construction programme.
The project enabled the Opera House to remain operational throughout, allowing for 996 uninterrupted performances.
Royal Opera House
Restaurant Interior Designer: Studio Linse
Retail Interior Designer: Drinkall Dean
Gardiner & Theobald
Retail & Restaurant Contractor: 3 Interiors
Arup | Robert Bird Group*
Crowd Movement: Arup
All Clear Designs
Gerald Eve | The Planning Lab
Donald Insall Associates
Catering Consultant: Kendrick Hobbs
Approved Inspector: AIS
IT Consultant: Fixation Networks
Primary Use Class
Class D2g - Theatre