Royal Opera House ‘Open Up’

  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: James Bellorini for Royal Opera House
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: James Newton
  • © Photo: James Newton
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: James Newton
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: James Newton
  • © Photo: James Newton
  • © Photo: Hufton and Crow
  • © Photo: James Newton

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Award

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Westminster

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.

Credits

Client

Royal Opera House

Architect

Stanton Williams

Other

Restaurant Interior Designer: Studio Linse

Retail Specialists

Retail Interior Designer: Drinkall Dean

Project Manager

Equals Consulting

Cost Consultant

Gardiner & Theobald

Construction Management

Rise

Other

Retail & Restaurant Contractor: 3 Interiors

Lighting Design

Studio Fractal

Wayfinding Consultant

Endpoint

Services Engineer

Arup

Structural Engineer

Arup | Robert Bird Group*

Acoustic Engineer

Arup Acoustics

Fire Engineering

Arup Fire

Other

Crowd Movement: Arup

Theatre Consultant

Charcoalblue

Access Consultant

All Clear Designs

Planning Consultant

Gerald Eve | The Planning Lab

Conservation Architect

Donald Insall Associates

Other

Catering Consultant: Kendrick Hobbs

Other

Approved Inspector: AIS

Other

IT Consultant: Fixation Networks

Primary Use Class

Class D2g - Theatre