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Studio Andrew Todd


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STUDIO ANDREW TODD, an architecture and scenography practice active since 2004, is recognized as one of Europe's leading young firms.


The practice has completed projects throughout Europe for public and private clients, with a particular emphasis on spaces for the performing arts.


Practice director Andrew Todd collaborated for seven years with the theatre director Peter Brook on the book 'The Open Circle: Peter Brook's Theatre Environments,' an experience which has deeply informed the ethos of the practice. Brook said of Todd "he is an architect, but also a fearless explorer who knows every past and present form of performance space."


We see the theatre as a paradigm for our own work, and also for a value system with broad social and ecological implications, touching on the following questions:

Economy of Means
Much of our work involves defining minimum needs for full expressive potential, whether in a concert hall, a restaurant or a dwelling. The most lively theatres are those where there is just enough space, where people work intensely together, creative energy being concentrated and refined rather than dispersed in overblown facilities. This is not simplistic functionalism, the space becoming a diagrammatic cloak around the initial expression of a need. Rather, it involves active empathy with the building user, getting under their skin, understanding their needs and desires intuitively as much as quantitatively. If buildings consume 50% of the planet's resources and energy, building to need is the cornerstone of an ecological approach.

Following from this, a happy building, full of life, is inevitably an efficient one, concentrating human energy rather than squandering planetary resources. We take this further: we are pioneering in France techniques of natural ventilation and ultra-low energy consumption, not just for ecological reasons, but because you can simply do more with a cost-effective facility.

Theatres are the last bastion of manufacturing in many Western cities: they are urban factories where matter is transformed, where craft professions thrive. Why, then, are so many of them mute and intemporal monuments? We believe the matter of buildings should be as lively as the people who use them, that people should feel a sense of potential (rather than doom) in the fabric of the city, that it is theirs and can be adapted, apprehended. This is one reason we use wood so much (apart from its obvious ecological and practical value): anyone can -in theory- remake it.

Theatres are places of encounter, where society confronts, understands and develops itself; backstage, they are hives of interdisciplinary team energy. We recognise that we simply cannot function without an open, positive, productive dialogue with our clients and our broader consultant teams. More broadly, we reach out to other forums for further exchange, research and debate. Andrew Todd is a founding Member of Richard Sennett's Theatrum Mundi network, engaging myriad institutions and creators around the world, and a contributor to the Guardian, Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, Architectural Review and the BBC.