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

This required several iterations to adjust the phasing according to the successful attainment of funding. For each iteration, we produced a detailed cost plan alongside a description of the comfort, maintenance and technical implications to enable the client to make an informed decision on defining the brief for each phase.

The masterplan was critical to this to ensure that abortive work was not undertaken. BAC produces many shows in Promenade format, with all areas of the building (including emergency battery rooms and switchgear rooms) potentially required for public performance. Engaging with technical and theatrical staff, as well as local licensing and fire departments, was required to assess environmental and health and safety implications for these performances.

Phase 1 has been completed and includes renewal of: house, work and performance lighting, theatre performance infrastructure and the fire alarm in the Grand Hall. The Architects' Journal described the work as 'a renovation that looks to the future while respecting a much-loved past' (22 November 2018).

The project was tendered using a traditional procurement route in 2008 and all the tenders returned on budget. Skelly & Couch is appointed to provide full M&E, environmental, and co-ordination design services.

Battersea Arts Centre was winner of The Stage Theatre Building of the Year Award 2019. It is the venue for a major new BBC2 series of arts shows called Performance Live, which are being broadcast over the next two years.

Winner of two 2019 RIBA London Awards including Client of the Year Award and a RIBA Regional Award.