Haworth Tompkins-designed revamp approved

Haworth Tompkins has won planning for the reconstruction and refurbishment of the grand hall at Battersea Arts Centre which was ravaged by fire last year.

The practice had been working at the grade II* venue for eight years before the blaze.

Two months after the fire, which destroyed the upper parts of the grand hall, a feasibility study assessing the building’s options was carried out.

Internally, elements of the grand hall that survived will be retained and, where required, refurbished or stabilised. A new timber lattice ceiling, demountable side galleries and a technical gallery at high level are proposed to replace lost elements. The lower hall level, which had been refurbished before the fire but was damaged by the firemen’s hoses, will also be returned to its pre-fire condition.

Operationally, the grand hall will be improved, allowing for a wider range of events to take place with more efficient transitions between them.

The lower hall will become a hub for creative start-up businesses.

Haworth Tompkins director Steve Tompkins said: “The grand hall fire was a hugely significant event in the long history of this extraordinary building. We took the decision with Battersea Arts Centre to make manifest the changes caused by the fire and to replace lost elements with contemporary material rather than replicas. 

“This approach is integral to our decade-long transformation project elsewhere in the building, each phase of which has been an architectural mediation between the important listed fabric of the old town hall and the 21st-century creative activity that it nurtures.

“In developing our design solution, the imaginative support of the local community, Historic England and the Wandsworth planning and conservation team has been invaluable.”