Hammersmith redevelopment is a triumph for Rick Mather Architects
The redevelopment, for which construction began in 2012, has cost an estimated £20m in total. The redevelopment included installation of new state-of-the-art facilities including a new rehearsal space, dance studio, music practice rooms, recording studio, film and TV studio, editing suite, 50-seat cinema, a digital playspace, a sensory space for children with disabilities, props and costume stores, wardrobe and scenic workshops, meeting and seminar rooms, staff offices and social spaces.
The Lyric building is no stranger to dramatic changes. Designed by Frank Matcham, the theatre opened in 1895 further along King Street from its current location. Demolished in 1966 when the site was redeveloped, the plasterwork of the auditorium was preserved and, in 1979, the reconstructed theatre reopened on the first floor of a new purpose-built modern building nearby.The late Rick Mather was the architect in 2004 for an extension that enlarged and relocated the entrance and provided a rehearsal room and other facilities. It is his firm that has been responsible for the current works.David Watson, the project’s architect, explains: “The Lyric was very clear about what they wanted and took advice from their partner companies and from technical experts such as Charcoalblue. The big challenges were to do with the fact that we were building on top of a shopping centre. Establishing the structural capacity and meeting restrictions on the positioning of windows were two of the biggest.”
The development includes commissioned artwork by leading British artists David Batchelor and Richard Wentworth. Batchelor is creating a neon work for the building’s exterior and Wentworth has produced a series of signs with information about the theatre’s diverse theatrical terminology and history; the 22 signs will be hidden all over the building.
The Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith before and after the refurbishment.