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Project 1 Urban Catalyst: Revitalising Broadmarsh

The first project was a group project, undertaken to revitalise the forgotten place that is the Broadmarsh shopping centre within the heart of Nottingham. The aim of the project was to bring life back into the site, and create a vibrant and healthy community by introducing a parkland into the city centre.

The park was populated with temporary buildings that functioned to create a marketplace, a set of offices/ work spaces and amenities such as bars and restaurants. The masterplan spanned 10 years, with each stage expanding with the growing stability of the economy and the good  reception and reaction to the site by the community. Since the buildings were designed to be temporary and flexible to change, it has allowed the masterplan to grow with the community.

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Project 2 Anchor Point: The Lotus Theatre

The second project was an individual project, building on from the first project, with the aims of creating an anchor point onto the site that becomes a focal point to bring recognition to the site.

I have chosen to design a medium sized multiform theatre to anchor the site and bring the community together through various performances showcasing the talent hiding in Nottingham, whilst staying embedded in its parkland  context.

With the nature of a multiform theatre comes the ability to change and adapt to different needs, which has been catered for in the stage and seating design to allow various layouts. This is also reflected in the mechanical façade cladding that is everchanging and becomes the beating heart of the theatre.

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The Approach

The theatre is located in the west end of the park, tying the two corners of the site together with the office building, creating a direct route through the site.

There are multiple entrance to both the public and the performers, with varying degrees of grandness signifying the hierarchy, on both pedestrian streets running along the site.

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The Mechanical Façade Comes to Life

 

The mechanical cladding  on the north façade has been designed to mirror the performances inside the theatre by reacting to the frequency of sound measured ad contracting/expanding accordingly. This creates varying levels of privacy and allows/prohibits views onto the stage at different times. 

This is used in tandem with the southern façade cladding that changes in accordance to the sun position, to limit solar gains and risks of overheating in summer months.  The fly tower also has the ability to fold out and create shelter when the weather is poorly, to still invite people onto the rooftop gardens. 

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The Rooftop Gardens

The rooftop features several gardens, in harmony with the parkland the theatre is situated in. The zen garden on top of the practice space mirrors the water features set out in the park, whilst also connecting visitors with the performers by allowing distorted glimpses into the performance through the water maintaining a feeling of privacy too.

The retractable roof opens up to allow visitors on the rooftop gardens to peer into the performance space and get a feel for the theatre. It also opens up chances for a starlit performance at night. The fly tower cladding also opens and contracts for similar effects of revealing some unique views onto the performance.

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The Interior

The interior spaces have been set up to create more connections with the performers and the theatre itself starting with the lobby that features an exhibition space above the box office, lit by a light well connected to the rooftop gardens. Meanwhile, the cafe spaces allow for performers to mix with the public and really get to know each other to build a stronger community. The first floor cafe even has a one way orange glazed window that allows them to peer into the performance without disturbing those inside.

 

The entrance to the auditorium also features more exhibition spaces to showcase props and allow behind the scenes info on the performers. These spaces are carved out of the fat wall surrounding the stage, providing the acoustic insulation. Internally, more  acoustic insulation is set up in the same geometry as the external cladding.

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The Stage of 1000 Performances

 

The stage was carefully designed to be very flexible in its seating arrangement and overall layout. This means that the stage can be changed from a traditional proscenium layout, to thrust, arena, traverse or simply just flat within a matter of minutes using the telescopic frames that support it. This also allows for trapdoors, storage space and even orchestra pits under stage.

With such a versatile stage, the theatre can truly call itself multiform and host a variety of performances ranging from traditional drama, ballet, musicals, and even revolutionary holographic circuses pioneered by Germany. 

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