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The Shed stands next to the National Theatre on London's SouthbankLondon has struggled with the legacy of the modernism of good intentions.
The Shed is indicative of a trend for big theatres to build small temporary venues to allow them greater flexibility and scope for experimentation. When the GLC architects built the Hayward Gallery (a space loved by artists) and the Queen Elizabeth Hall (less loved) in the late 1960s, theirs was the largest architecture office in the world. The architects are Feilden Clegg Bradley a€“ sensible and thoughtful designers who have also made good proposals for the site in terms of better using the existing multi-level landscape. The resolutely public and determinedly concrete expanses of the South Bank and the National Theatre are as tough as they look a€“ as massive and substantial in their way as a medieval castle.
Haworth Tompkins announces the completion of The Shed, a temporary venue for the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. The artistic programme for The Shed, recently announced by the Director of the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner, pushes creative boundaries, giving the NT the opportunity to explore new ways of making theatre.
The Shed also represents another step in Haworth Tompkins’ ongoing project to research sustainable ways of making theatres. Expect to see around 150 custom motorcycles from the new wave custom scene, plus art, photography, quality gear and apparel, hosted in comfy surroundings with quality food, a proper bar and coffee, plus we have a barbershop and even a tattooist. As well seeing some of Europe’s best builders, and coolest brands, the event is also supported by the manufacturers who are also building some stunning custom machinery. Friday evening’s Special Preview Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance. Dogs are not allowed inside the venue (not our choice), but they are allowed on the dockside. Bring cash, there are no cash points on-site, although there are some within walking distance. There is some very limited Bike Parking on the actual Dockside within the venue grounds  – until 7pm only. A chunky, timber-clad red box with four stacks at its corners a€“ like an upturned table a€“ lurks beside the National Theatre.


But beyond that, I think it also offers a clue as to how this extraordinary arts infrastructure might be augmented. Conceived and built more like a theatrical project than an architectural one, it was constructed from improvised materials, plywood boards, cheap timber slats, scaffolding, netting.
It was a time when architects were envisioning insectoid walking cities and inflatable house-pods, when the members of pop-provocateurs Archigram also worked at the GLC. There is no real desire now to create visionary new worlds, and no money to fund them anyway; there is a sense that only consumption is capable of animating public space.
But my inclination would have been to continue experimenting with exactly the kind of surprising, challenging and temporary (Ia€™m straining not to use the expression a€?pop-upa€?) architecture which allows ideas to be tested and which facilitates real, momentary change without needing to be afraid of permanently changing the setting. Part of the charm of this unique cultural complex is its incoherence, its profile as a mantelpiece of modernist moments, not all of them successful, and the frisson of knowing that at any moment you might get lost in an unfamiliar concrete corner framing a new view of the city.
And just as such castles were once supported by a cluster of timber structures a€“ adaptable and readily removable a€“ that housed the activities of everyday life, the Southbank Centre too should embrace a little impermanence. The Shed will give the NT a third auditorium while the Cottesloe is closed for a year during the NT Future redevelopment, also designed by Haworth Tompkins. In the same way, The Shed has been a test bed for experiment by the architectural design team.
Its simple form houses a 225-seat auditorium made of raw steel and plywood, while the rough sawn timber cladding refers to the National Theatre’s iconic board-marked concrete, and the modelling of the auditorium and its corner towers complement the bold geometries of the NT itself.
Built of materials that can be 100% recycled and fitted out with re-used seating, The Shed is naturally ventilated, with the four towers that draw air through the building providing its distinctive form. The Royal Festival Hall might have become popular but the other buildings of the South Bank have faced threats of demolition, while their forlorn residential contemporaries, social housing estates in Londona€™s Elephant and Castle and Robin Hood Gardens, await the wrecking ball. This is The Shed, a A?1.2m temporary theatre designed by Haworth Tompkins and built for one year only to house productions while the Dorfman (formerly Cottesloe) is being rebuilt as part of the same architectsa€™ A?70m works to the National Theatre. An intervention like this allows a shift in understanding what can be done with that piece of the public realm.
There was a fearlessness and a desire to create a new type of open, non-commercial public realm.


Indeed, therea€™s another fine example on top of Queen Elizabeth Hall at present, David Kohn and Fiona Bannera€™s eccentric temporary nautical structure, a€?A Room for Londona€?.
Conceived by Haworth Tompkins and regular collaborators Charcoalblue, it was then designed and built in little more than a year, a collaborative process between the building designers, the National Theatre, and theatre-makers who will work in the space, in a way that more closely resembled a theatre show than a conventional construction project. A temporary foyer has been carved out from the space beneath the NT’s external terraces and provides easy connection to the existing foyers. The concrete mass of the National Theatre provoked public opprobrium when it was built and the futures of the Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall have been under a cloud of uncertainty for decades. It was an attempt to create a three-dimensional landscape of terraces and walkways, to lift pedestrians above the city. The results might be difficult to notice even though they will change the way the building works and how it addresses the river. It is an architecture of possibilities a€“ much as was the formal experimentation of Denys Lasdun, the architect of the National Theatre, and the Greater London Council Department of Architecture and Civic Design, which designed the neighbouring South Bank.
Thata€™s why Ia€™m slightly uneasy about the Southbank Centrea€™s proposal to balance a couple of glass boxes atop the buildings to provide a huge rehearsal space and foyer. The trouble with the proposed glass boxes (if that is what they are to be) is that they will fix the buildings in a moment and will fall out of fashion as fast as the chunky concrete Brutalism did when the rain first stained its coarse surfaces.
The Shed’s brilliant red colour covering the entire mass of a form without doors or windows, announces its arrival boldly against the concrete bulk of the NT, giving it a startling and enigmatic presence. The Southbank Centre is billed as the largest urban cultural complex in the world but it is not a place London is unequivocally in love with. The idea of wrapping the public realm under, up and around the buildings makes this a thrillingly, radically unsettling cityscape.



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Author: admin | 15.02.2015 | Category: How To Build A Garden Shed


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