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Chichester Festival Theatre, West Sussex

Ensured the essence of theatre remained

Credit: Philip Vile

Haworth Tompkins for Chichester Festival Theatre

Contract Value: £13,000,000

GIA: 2890m2

Conservation Award

Sustainability Award sponsored by SIKA

Project Architect of the Year, to Lucy Picardo sponsored by Lafarge Tarmac 

Building of the Year

Powell & Moya's Chichester Festival Theatre was built in 1963 as a pavilion in the park. Haworth Tompkins’ extensive research for the refurbishment gave it a deep understanding of how the building was constructed and why. This has ensured that the essence of theatre, and more particularly the iconic concrete supporting structures, remained in place. 

  • Credit: Philip Vile
  • Credit: Philip Vile
  • Credit: Philip Vile
  • Credit: Philip Vile

The architect challenged original design decisions to improve the theatre’s functionality, such as altering the viewing positions of a large section of seating in the auditorium. The brief required extensive remodelling of the original structure, extensions, and alterations to make the theatre fit for purpose. The use of Corten clearly distinguishes the extended back-of-house from front-of-house and perfectly complements the brutal concrete of the 1960s structure. Design cues such vertical timber boarding were used to visually connect spaces and even provide a branding device for the theatre. Complex structural and conservation issues are handled sympathetically and with style against a tight construction timeframe. This is a true masterclass in how to restore an existing iconic building and far exceed its original ambition.

See other winners in the RIBA Regional Awards 2015 – South East

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