RIBA Regional Awards 2014: London
Hawkins Brown for the Oily Cart theatre company
Contract £358,690. GIA 270m2
Modest though it is, this adaptation of a grade II listed Victorian school annexe for a children’s theatre company has intelligence and bags of style. The spaces are logically reorganised, 50% more floor area found – and something remarkable made of the ultra-PoMo freestanding external lift tower, which becomes a magical golden turret in part-perforated, part stippled, part patterned anodised aluminium. This then acts as a marker for the company’s presence in a run-down urban setting. A new mezzanine level inside the old building plays a similar trick, becoming a kind of timber treehouse. Whimsy for its own sake can go badly awry, but not here: you sense that both architect and client just loved letting rip in this way.