Donmar Warehouse - Dryden Street

The Donmar Warehouse is a leading producing theatre company in London’s Covent Garden. Having acquired a small 19th Century warehouse building in nearby Dryden Street, the theatre wanted to convert it for rehearsal, education and support facilities. The challenge was to design a convivial and creative professional working environment within the constraints of a limited budget and a tightly enclosed site set within the Covent Garden Conservation Area.

The character of the original building was retained as much as possible with a new rooftop extension to house a dwelling for visiting artists, a new stair core and a double-height rehearsal space.

Skelly & Couch’s design proposals for services aimed to reduce the energy used by the development at the completion of works by at least 20%. This was proposed through a combination of improved building fabric, enhanced natural ventilation, high efficiency heating plant, high efficiency lighting, widespread introduction of light controls, better building energy management systems, sub-metering and controls, and the introduction of renewables via a solar thermal array.

The energy performance of the building was predicted using accredited dynamic thermal simulation modelling, based on the existing building being a typical use, naturally ventilated office. Graphical representations show a 23% improvement in energy performance and a 19% improvement in CO2 emissions. Provision has also been made to connect the premises to a district heating network in the future.

* 2015 RIBA London Award winner *