This wooden open air theatre in London is where you want to be this summer

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London celebrated its 80th season with a series of significant new buildings in 2012.

Haworth Tompkins rebuilt the theatre, replete with dressing rooms, wardrobe, workshops, box office and sheltered seating canopy.

Central to the renovation is the new Box Office and public face of the theatre, open all year round. When completely closed, the Box Office presents a subdued frontage to the park, albeit with posters advertising forthcoming productions.

The new seating canopy curves around the southern perimeter providing an additional and complimentary space for the bar. Surrounded by trees, small booths are formed between the structural bays that create a more intimate environment for drinks.

The new buildings, made entirely of natural timber, are designed to blur the distinction between them and the woodland setting, adding to the sense of romance and mystery. The offices are naturally lit and ventilated, with the majority of the windows located in the Northern façade between projecting fins to mitigate the noise and light towards the stage.

Both the backstage buildings and the box office are constructed using pre-fabricated Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels from Stora Enso Building Solutions, which allowed for construction within the six-month window between theatre seasons. Its lightweight frame requires minimal foundations and enabled existing tree-root systems to be preserved.

The wood has been left exposed internally, removing the need for ‘wet’ trades such as plastering, while externally the buildings have been clad with rough-sawn larch boards. These are either stained or left natural, echoing the repetitive verticality of the trees they sit amongst.


Images: Haworth Tompkins