Client: Belgrade Theatre Trust
When it opened in 1958, Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre was the first all-new professional theatre to be built in Britain for twenty years, and the country’s first purpose-built civic theatre. Both the building and the artistic programme represented a new age. By the turn of the twenty-first century, however, the theatre’s facilities were proving inadequate. We were commissioned in 2002 to provide the Belgrade with a second auditorium, expanded foyers, and improved backstage facilities. Our work complements and restores the Grade II-listed Modernism of the original whilst at the same time giving Coventry a bold contemporary landmark.
Our extension is strongly vertical, contrasting with the lower-slung horizontals of the original theatre. Through the combination of differently-sized volumes plus the contrasting use of coloured renders and translucent panels, it functions as a beacon that signals the theatre’s presence within an evolving cityscape and which responds to the scale of an adjacent new mixed-use development.
Inside, the new foyers connect with the 1958 public spaces, which have been stripped back to their original appearance. The second auditorium is a flexible space which can be used in various configurations. Wrapped around it are new dressing rooms and technical spaces, whilst above is the theatre’s first purpose-built rehearsal room.
Completed in 2007, the building embodies the Belgrade’s ambition to recapture the pioneering spirit of its early days. Recognition for our work includes RIBA National and Regional awards.
2010 Nominated for the 2010 Federal Republic of Germany Award
2008 RIBA National Award
2008 RIBA West Midlands Award
2008 D&AD Award
2008 Finalist for the Civic Trust Award
Project Manager: Buro Four
Cost Consultant: Davis Langdon
Structural Engineers: Flint & Neill Partnership
Services Engineers: RYB Konsult
Theatre Consultant: Theatreplan
Lighting Consultant: Light and Design Associates
Fire Consultant: AECOM
Acoustics Consultant: Arup Acoustics
Main Contractor: ISG Interior Exterior plc
Photography: Morley von Sternberg and Stanton Williams