‘the shed’ by haworth tompkins, national theatre, southbank, london, englandimage © designboom

 

 

 

paddy dillon, lead architect at haworth tompkins, walked designboom through the firm’s latest dynamic project in the southbank center. ‘the shed‘ is a vibrant temporary performance space occupying a formerly unused plaza of london’s iconic national theatre. the ever-burgeoning artistic hub is in the midst of a redesigned masterplan, also by haworth tompkins, but for the next year its vibrant cousin will present new works of theater that are more ‘adventurous, ambitious and unexpected’ with an intensely hued architecture to match. 

 

lead architect paddy dillon speaks about the sustainable side of the projectvideo © designboom

 

 

 

facing the river thames, the shed is characterized by its scale and incredible red skin. a steel frame skeleton braces layered plywood and insulation sheathing. recalling the board-marked concrete of the national theater, the space is then clad in stained, recyclable wooden planks that continue the subtle lines of its brutalist counterpart. four, chimney-like structures peer over the parapet of waterloo bridge and use stack effect to passively ventilate the interior. the space is intended to present new, more daring works of theater, expressed architectonically in the perfectly flexible, umbilical space. while the national theater is a historically protected structure, a translucent low-impact polycarbonate cafe uses an existing overhang to link the edifice to the national theater and to create a liminal entrance space and cafe for the shed. paddy dillon, lead architect for the shed, explained that ephemera and environmental responsibility were at the heart of the project. working inconjunction with theater consultants charcoalblue, the shed is the manifestation of joint view of architecture as event. the quieter power of the form lies in the underlying removal of a pretense that assumes cultural buildings must last forever. 

haworth tompkins: the shed at the london's national theatrethe shed mimics the brutalist concrete forms of the iconic national theaterimage © designboom

haworth tompkins: the shed at the london's national theatrea ‘black box’ style interior belies the shed’s vibrant exteriorimage © designboom

 

 

haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london the shed stands in the hollow of an unused plaza image © designboom

haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the form is flanked by the bridge and building
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the space is a temporary extension of the national theater
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the vibrant form can be seen from multiple levels
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the short-term space faces soutbank
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the chimney-like forms jut out and reference the existing architecture
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the board-marks are mimicked in the red wood
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the building balances between synthesis and separate entity
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


image © designboom

haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


view from the walkway
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the four turrets act as a passive ventilation system
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the small theater is part of the southbank center complex
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


view from the entrance toward the river
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


view from the southbank riverwalk
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


view from the overhang of the national theater
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


detail of the stained red boards
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the shed is linked to the existing structure with a polycarbonate-clad cafe
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


a view of the cafe
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


translucent polycarbonate encloses the cafe
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


image © designboom

haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the liminal space still allows views of the bright form
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the coffered overhang of the theater is used as the roof of the ticket booth
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


entrance to the shed
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


first level
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


main performance space
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


second level
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


the space is slated to present more adventurous works
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


seating is ample and optimized for total viewership
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haworth tompkins: the shed opens in london


wood is stained rather than painted so as to keep the material's life
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