Listed building converted into ultra modern youth club
Hudson Architects’ OPEN Youth Venue has opened its doors on the site of a Grade II listed banking hall, previously the largest of its kind in England. Hudson Architects was awarded the commission in July 2006 after competing in a limited design competition.
The £6m commission by the OPEN Youth Trust is the UK’s first state-of-the-art 21st Century youth venue funded under the Government’s ‘myplace’ programme to open its doors. The innovative refurbishment encompasses the vision of the trust to establish a best practice city centre youth venue with exceptional quality infrastructure, offering young people support and advice within a stimulating and positive environment. It will provide young people in Norwich and Norfolk with a 1,450 capacity live venue, climbing wall, dance studio, recording studio, café, media lab and the UK’s first exclusively under 18’s nightclub.
The site, formerly a redundant Barclays Bank housed in a Grade II listed building dating from 1929, had already been subject to a series of extensions and alterations in the 1930’s and 1980’s. Hudson Architects’ design makes creative use of the old banking hall by restoring the interior to its former glory and lining it with an inner structure. A faceted gold mesh clad steel platform sits in the Hall like a super-scaled table, attached to the existing structure and sides of the Hall. It is constructed of steel and metal mesh, recyclable materials which can be completely removed without damaging the Grade II listed interior. Above the platform a series of suspended triangular prism snake across the ceiling, providing acoustics to the main hall and theatrical lighting for live performances.
Anthony Hudson said: "Having brought up children in Norwich, I have found it really rewarding to work with OPEN and help bring their vision into practice. It is a major achievement, which will have a tremendously positive impact on the lives of young people in the local area. It has been a hugely rewarding working relationship."