The Shed theatre by Haworth Tompkins, London
A bright red new landmark has sprung up amid the concrete architecture on London’s South Bank. Designed by Haworth Tompkins (in collaboration with theatre consultants Charcoalblue), The Shed is a temporary venue for the National Theatre’s impressive program of shows, and adds to the South Bank’s already powerful cultural pull.
Sited on Theatre Square, the new venue will act as a third auditorium for the National Theatre while one of its spaces - the Cottesloe - is closed for a year during the complex’s redevelopment. It was designed and built in little more than a year and houses a 225-seat auditorium made of steel and plywood.
The Shed’s rough sawn timber cladding references the National Theatre building’s iconic board-marked concrete. Its intriguing, window-less volume features four corner chimneys that help natural ventilation; The Shed needs no artificial air conditioning. A temporary foyer connects it with the theatre’s permanent lobby.
Using its flexible brand new venue as a vessel, the National Theatre is aiming to explore new ways of making of theatre with a programme that includes new plays, a theatre piece with music and a puppet show.
The Shed will stay on the South Bank for a year. Since the architect created it to be 100% recyclable and fitted out with re-used seating, the parts can be used to new creative ends once the 12 months are over.