Battersea Arts Centre

We have been working over a number years on a rolling programme to upgrade the services, enhance the technical infrastructure and improve the thermal performance of the Grade II*-listed 6000m² Battersea Arts Centre, formerly Battersea Town Hall. 

Initially an overall masterplan was developed and this was subsequently broken down into phases according to operational priorities and potential funding streams.

The project included revisiting first principles of human comfort to help reduce energy use and minimise active services provision, helping BAC become one of the first centres to achieve Creative Green Certification.

BAC is used extremely flexibly, often by immersive theatre producers, and all areas of the building (including emergency battery rooms and switchgear rooms) had the potential for public performance. Engagement with technical and theatrical staff, as well as local licensing and fire departments, was required to assess environmental and health and safety implications.

All phases have now been completed. Phase 1 included renewal of: house, work and performance lighting and theatre performance infrastructure in the Grand and Lower Halls.

Phase 2 works involved the refurbishment of the ‘Municipal’ end of the building, converting council chambers, meeting rooms, clerks' offices, etc. into flexible performance spaces. During this project, the Grand Hall was destroyed by a devastating fire in March 2015. The external envelope and roof of the hall have been rebuilt to match the original design, whilst internally those elements that survived were preserved, with features of the lost fabric being reinterpreted, such as a new timber lattice ceiling reflecting the original decorative plaster ceiling but providing space for adjustable acoustics, ventilation systems and stage lighting and engineering. The Architects’ Journal described the work as ‘a renovation that looks to the future while respecting a much-loved past’ (22 November 2018).

Battersea Arts Centre won The Stage Theatre Building of the Year Award 2019 and an International Architecture Award dedicated to the recognition of excellence in architecture and urbanism from a global perspective. Winner of a 2019 RIBA National Award and two 2019 RIBA London Awards; a 2019 Wood Award in the Interiors category; and a 2020 Civic Trust AABC Conservation Award. Crowned the overall winner as well as achieving both the Experiencing Culture and Community prizes in the New London Awards 2020.