Located in the heart of the Durham World Heritage Site, our extensive remodeling of the Assembly Rooms Theatre earned us a Civic Trust Award, of which we’re very proud.
The theatre offers a 175-seat, proscenium arch auditorium complete with an original hemp-rigged fly tower, dressing rooms, green room, and a large workshop with storage facilities and offices. We have also included a new bar and accessible viewing platform – both are valuable modern interventions that also complement the theatre’s traditional features.
To restore the theatre to its former glory, we completed a full restoration of the eighteenth-century building, including major fabric alterations and structural repairs. However, we also maintained a focus on functionality and accessibility. As a result, we had to navigate the multiple split levels and converging volumes (from various remodeling projects) that complicated our envisioned accessibility routes and facilities. Through careful design strategies, however, we managed to install vertical access throughout the public spaces and implement inclusive communication and lighting features.
Such resolutions were aided by the data collected by our initial laser-scanned survey, and the comprehensive 3D models generated on the Point Cloud. Such innovation ensured the effective coordination of our design team and responsive proposals to the client.
Challengingly, the theatre is also situated on an extremely tight site, flanked by university buildings on a narrow, busy thoroughfare. Such context required careful management of the access challenges presented throughout construction, as well as close liaison with the stakeholders to minimise disruption.
Since completion, the Theatre has seen a flurry of activity and recognition: the scheme has received the Durham Trust Architectural Award, as well as being listed as a finalist for Best Commercial Project and Best Public Service or Educational Building in the Regional LABC awards.