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Royal Court Theatre Renovation

Liverpool

Liverpool, England

2010

This invited competition concerned strategies to renovate and improve Liverpool's remarkable art deco Royal Court Theatre. The client asked us to consider access, stage technology, circulation and the urban context as parameters for progress. Our response rests on the principle that the civic interior offered by a theatre can only function when it is well-connected to the larger civic exterior. We accordingly proposed sculpting the adjacent St John's Shopping Centre (currently under redevelopment) into a form more conducive to bringing out the theatre's core qualities of frontality and massiveness. We proposed extending the symbiosis between these two bodies through a continuous awning, a new rooftop restaurant, a shared entrance to a car park, and a double stair and lift core, thereby permitting the optimisation of the theatre's front of house spaces. To the rear we proposed a comprehensive redevelopment of a very important site facing St George's Hall (currently a car park elevation), predicating a small new backstage building as part of a larger scheme comprising a hotel and shops.