Special International Architect Talk:
Julian Lipscombe of UK firm Bennetts Associates Architects
Holme Sutherland Room, University of Sydney
2012 sees the return of the Australian Architecture Associations' international architects talk series. Our first speaker for the year is Julian Lipscombe, director at one of the UK's leading firms, Bennetts Associates Architects.
When I first heard Julian Lipscombe would be presenting his firm's work for the AAA, I suffered a fit of nostalgia for my time working as a designer in London. For anyone interested in all things theatrical, London is definitely the place to be! Bennetts Associates Architects designed the Hampstead Theatre, one of my favourite places in London to experience new writing and see contemporary productions.
The Hampstead Theatre at night. (Photo courtesy of Bennetts Associates)
Despite it's name, the Hampstead Theatre is actually located in the suburb of Swiss Cottage. Completed in 2003, this RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) awarded building (2003), was the first freestanding theatre to be constructed in London since the National Theatre in South Bank was built in 1975.
Founded in part by grants from the Arts Council of England, the theatre formed a part of a larger master plan developed in 1994 by Bennetts Associates. The inclusion of a new cultural institution in the area was envisaged as a catalyst for the revitalisation of Swiss Cottage in northwest London. Not only would it attract theatre enthusiasts into the area, it would also encourage the establishment of associated organisations and commercial business in Swiss Cottage.
Interior view of the Hampstead Theatre ancillary spaces and elliptical auditorium. (Photo courtesy of Bennetts Associates)
The clients, The Hampstead Theatre Foundation, wanted a space that was compact, with the flexibility to adapt the staging to a variety of productions.
The building's sculptural form expresses the volume of the auditorium and stage rising out of a rectangle of ancillary accommodation. A large basement prevents the building from dominating the site, which is surrounded by low-rise buildings.
The auditorium's shallow ellipse accommodates various sizes of audience and stage format while maintaining the feel of a complete ‘room'. Flexible education and production workshops facilitate the client's work commissioning and staging new plays.
Interior view of the Hampstead Theatre auditorium seating. (Photo courtesy of Bennetts Associates)
With the completion of the Hampstead Theatre, Bennetts Associates Architects established themselves as one of the leading designers in the UK for cultural buildings.
On the 3 April, Julian Lipscombe will present another theatrical building Bennetts Associates Architects completed in 2010, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in the English Midlands.
We expect places at the talk to fill up quickly, so don't miss out, book now!