This autumn, London’s Battersea Arts Centre will enter the final phase of restoration and redevelopment of its Grade II-listed Victorian building in collaboration with architects Haworth Tompkins.
"This phase of work is an important milestone in the transformation of Battersea Arts Centre. Throughout the long relationship with David Jubb [Artistic Director of BAC] and his team we have found we work in similar ways: instinctively collaborative, willing to take creative risks, happy to improvise and as interested in the creative process as the polished end product.
We have learned to see the building through the eyes of performing artists, beyond the visible spectrum of architectural resolution and static completion, allowing the artists more creative latitude to inhabit and adapt their spaces, and audiences more fun in exploration and discovery. I hope more arts organisations in existing buildings will be encouraged to work in this way,” said Steve Tompkins, Director, Haworth Tompkins.
The partnership began with conversations in 2006 and work started the year after to open up more spaces in the building and welcome more people from the local community alongside artists and audiences in line with its original municipal function as Battersea Town Hall.
“Battersea Arts Centre is a home for everyone who wants to get creative and make change happen. The innovative redevelopment of the building echoes this in every sense; we are opening up our spaces to allow even more people to develop and share their ideas here with us,” said Jubb.
Initial phases have already improved footfall; last year more than 100,000 people came through Battersea Arts Centre’s doors to see performances by over 400 artists, including both "Scratch" works in development and fully finished shows, as well as more than 3,000 young people who took part in creative learning projects.
Some highlights of the redevelopment include a continuous performance space, formed by linking 12 self-contained rooms. This will become part of a larger and flexible open-plan model on the first floor. An adaptable outdoor performance space is being created in the courtyard en route to the Grand Hall.
There will be an additional three artist bedrooms, taking the total number to nine, with improved facilities, and a new 460 sq m creative learning hub, enabled by a reconfiguration of the spaces at the rear of the building, to house workshops, courses and start-up companies.