Thomasons provided structural engineering expertise for the ACT ll phase of the restoration of the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool, a project for which, has scooped the Building of the Year (up to £10m) at the British Construction Industry (BCI) Awards. The Royal Court Theatre first opened its doors in 1826, and by 1881 was the most well-known touring venue in Liverpool for popular theatre, it was destroyed by fire in 1933 but rebuilt in 1938.
Commissioned by the Royal Court Theatre Trust, Thomasons worked with a team including architect Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Stephen Hunt Associates, Modero and Principal Contractor Mellwood Construction. With a modest budget, close collaboration was required to regenerate the existing three-tier auditorium and make better use of the front-of-house space. Materials were selected to complement the red brick and walnut panelling of the existing building, as well as to highlight new features.
Together with alterations to existing internal public spaces and facilities a new lift from basement to fifth floor was constructed through existing floors. Externally a brand new single storey extension was added to the Roe Street elevation to provide entrance foyer, booking office and stage door entrance together with a fully accessible roof top terrace, at the stage door end of the extension incorporates a large digital screen.
As with most historical buildings the actual structure and structural concept keeps itself hidden until refurbishment commences and finishes are removed revealing the physical structure behind. The Royal Court in this respect is no different revealing an array of cantilever structures, columns hung from roof level and stopping at first floor level to 10m x 10m below ground water retaining structures thought to part of an old well system feeding the centre of town.