Young Vic Renewal
by Terri Peters
The redesigned Young Vic Theatre by London architects Haworth Tompkins is more than just the extension and renovation of a local theater in Lambeth, South London. It is a radical, minimally designed new facility that celebrates the history of the place and highlights the ambitions of the local arts community.
Shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize in 2007, the £12.5 million rebuild and expansion keeps much of the rough, industrial aesthetic so loved in the original building, but enhances and enlarges the theater, blurring the lines between front and back of house, and maintaining the informal relationships between performer and audience.
The concept is a collage of old and new, with flexible, multiuse designs for workshops, theaters, studios, offices, and public spaces, carefully arranged on this tight, unapologetically urban site.
Located on The Cut — the same street as its more formal and grown-up counterpart, the Old Vic — the Young Vic was conceived of as an experimental venue. Now independent, it was founded as an offshoot of the Royal National Theatre in 1970 to give younger actors and directors the opportunity to develop and perform in up-and-coming productions, often aimed at younger audiences.
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