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Expanding the Roundhouse

The Roundhouse, one of the world’s best-known performance venues, unveiled last week its plans for expansion. Designed by Allies and Morrison, the expansion will bring together a new Centre for Creative and Digital Entrepreneurs, a music wing for recording and live broadcast, a triple-height studio for experimental theatre and performing arts, breakout spaces for collaboration and a year-round outdoor bar.

Located in London’s Chalk Farm, space had become limited since the venue re-opened in 2006 following an earlier refurbishment. Our work began by supporting the Roundhouse team as they thought through their vision for future development. The result was a masterplan for the Roundhouse campus, which rationalised space and circulation and identified the possibility for a new campus building that would accommodate its expanding offer of performance and programmes for young people.

The new building will also form a visual bridge between the Roundhouse, with its 2006 extension, the listed retaining wall at the north side of the campus and a planned four storey container office. Two large studio blocks, built of corrugated metal, and reflecting the module of the adjacent containers, will give the Roundhouse the space they need to develop their growing programme. A curving black metal street wall, above the retaining wall, reflects the curved black Roundhouse extension. Replacing an untidy streetscape of timber fencing and hoarding, it will address the important junction at the top of Chalk Farm Road.

For quick construction in a busy artistic programme, the new campus building will be constructed in cross laminated timber. Planning permission was obtained in May 2017.

Paddy Dillon, Director at Allies and Morrison, said, ‘We’re delighted the new building will help the Roundhouse to expand its mission, and unlock the potential of young people to work in the arts.’