The Shed at the National Theatre
by Haworth Tompkins

| 16 comments
 

Architecture firm Haworth Tompkins has installed a bright red auditorium amongst the brutalist concrete of London's National Theatre (+ slideshow).

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Haworth Tompkins designed The Shed as a monolithic red box, entirely clad with rough-sawn timber boards. This material references the board-formed concrete of Denys Lasdun's celebrated 1970s National Theatre and was intended by the architects to appear as its opposite.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Four towering chimneys rise up from the corners, helping to draw air through the structure using a stack-effect system of natural ventilation. These chimneys were also planned as a reference to the architecture of the theatre and they mimic the angular geometry of its riverside facade.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

A temporary foyer is created beneath the existing balconies and leads straight through into the 225-seat auditorium.

The Shed at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Reclaimed chairs provide all of the seating inside the building, while recycled materials were used for all of the cladding and surfaces.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

"This collaboration has been a wonderful opportunity to explore the ways in which temporary public buildings can alter our perceptions of places and organisations," said practice director Steve Tompkins. "We hope The Shed will be seen as a playful but thoughtful building, both challenging and complementary to the permanent cultural architecture."

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Above: photograph is by Philip Vile

The auditorium will remain in place for a year, temporarily replacing the Cottesloe Theatre room while it undergoes a renovation.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Pop-up theatres and cinemas have become increasingly popular in London over the last few years. In 2011 a team of volunteers built a cinema under a motorway flyover, while a theatre for an audience of six travelled around Clerkenwell during last year's design week in the district.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Above: photograph is by Philip Vile

Other temporary theatres created recently include one made from scaffolding and plastic pond liner in southern England and one in Estonia made from straw bales. See more theatres on Dezeen.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

See more architecture by Haworth Tompkins, including the new home for print-making and photography at the Royal College of Art.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Photography is by Hélène Binet, apart from where otherwise stated.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Above: photograph is by Philip Vile

Here's some extra information from the architects:


Haworth Tompkins creates temporary venue at the National Theatre ‘The Shed’

Haworth Tompkins announces the completion of The Shed, a temporary venue for the National Theatre on London's South Bank. The Shed will give the NT a third auditorium while the Cottesloe is closed for a year during the NT Future redevelopment, also designed by Haworth Tompkins.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

The artistic programme for The Shed, recently announced by the Director of the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner, pushes creative boundaries, giving the NT the opportunity to explore new ways of making theatre. In the same way, The Shed has been a test bed for experiment by the architectural design team. Conceived by Haworth Tompkins and regular collaborators Charcoalblue, it was then designed and built in little more than a year, a collaborative process between the building designers, the National Theatre, and theatre-makers who will work in the space, in a way that more closely resembled a theatre show than a conventional construction project.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Above: photograph is by Philip Vile

Its temporary nature, building on Haworth Tompkins' earlier temporary projects like the Almeida Theatre at Gainsborough Studios and King's Cross, permits a structure that can be seen less as a building than as an event or arts installation - a vibrant intervention on London's South Bank that will entrance, and sometimes bewilder, passers-by for a period of twelve months.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Above: photograph is by Philip Vile

The Shed occupies Theatre Square, at the front of the National Theatre, beside the river. Its simple form houses a 225-seat auditorium made of raw steel and plywood, while the rough-sawn timber cladding refers to the National Theatre's iconic board-marked concrete, and the modelling of the auditorium and its corner towers complement the bold geometries of the NT itself. A temporary foyer has been carved out from the space beneath the NT's external terraces and provides easy connection to the existing foyers. The Shed's brilliant red colour covering the entire mass of a form without doors or windows, announces its arrival boldly against the concrete bulk of the NT, giving it a startling and enigmatic presence.

SHED at the National Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Above: photograph is by Philip Vile

The Shed also represents another step in Haworth Tompkins' ongoing project to research sustainable ways of making theatres. Built of materials that can be 100% recycled and fitted out with re-used seating, The Shed is naturally ventilated, with the four towers that draw air through the building providing its distinctive form.

  • Max

    Very nice! Congratulations on a bold and beautiful project!

  • Chris

    Brilliant use of contrast while still maintaining a contextual sympathy for the South Bank (slight resemblance to Battersea’s form?).

    The level of work that the National Theatre commissions always manages to astound me, be it theatrical or architectural. Hopefully the Cottesloe Theatre will be just as brilliant.

  • James

    Looks beautiful!

  • http://www.zazous.co.uk Kate Austin

    Exciting! I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it ends up staying a lot longer than one year. After all there’s no sign of them taking down the Eiffel Tower or the London Eye just yet, is there?

  • Breadcrumbtrail

    A simple concept beautifully resolved.

  • Sara

    What a nice play between the concrete formwork pattern on the existing National Theatre and the Shed's cladding. The punch of colour is certainly refreshing!

  • http://claxtonarchitects.com russell claxton

    Good point. I was just thinking it would be a shame to lose this. Utterly striking and it improves the concrete context by offering such a striking foil.

  • http://www.walnutgreydesign.com/ Mr Walnut Grey

    All of that gorgeous grey concrete now looks even better with its bright red playmate. Fantastic concept and juxtaposition of materials.

  • http://www.shifta.fr shiftA

    Inspiring!

  • Prole

    I think I can see Aldo Rossi in the background, floating down the Thames.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Why are there minarets on the corners?

    Other than that, it's a great contrast.

    • Andy

      Natural ventilation.

  • http://www.designsourcebook.net owls house london.

    Red and fabulous! Beautifully conceived, respectful and considered.

  • http://thebeholderseyes.com Darren

    I think it looks stunning (both in these pictures and also up close) and contrasts really well with the concrete surroundings. I hope that it stays a bit longer.

  • Sultony

    Out of context and such basic form as to have no connections, roots nor sympathy with content. Reminiscent of a cheap children’s toy castle.

  • http://www.durasteel.co.nz/shop/commercial-sheds.html sheds garages

    Congratulations Haworth Tompkins on this wonderful building and its four towers which distinguish it from other buildings. These towers are nicely constructed for the ventilation in the building.