Weiss Architecture Studio

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Scenery Painting Workshop

This atmospheric and engaging Grade II Listed, Victorian building is regarded as a significant and complete example of a theatrical scene-painting workshop. At the beginning of the 20th century, the building was a state-of-the-art scenic painting studios and supplied many of the West End theatres with painted backdrops and theatrical scenery.

To create purpose-built painting rooms for the theatrical scenery industry was an ambitious project in 1903. The centre of the building was occupied by the painting frames, and lit by a projecting lantern, which still exists. The first-floor painting area gave access to four 50ft by 30ft unique painting canvases which take the form of enormous stretchers. They would move up in the light well and down into the cellar, allowing the painters to remain in a fixed position at ground level.

The site on which the workshop stands, lies partially within a churchyard. From here, the height of the building can be fully appreciated, as two of the facades and the roof are visible, but there is little indication of its magnificent interior from exterior views.

Chapman Architects were engaged to investigate the building and produce a scheme that will sensitively showcase the building’s amazing history. Primarily the proposals look to repair and refurbish the building so that it can continue to provide unique office accommodation that is full of character.

In total the proposal will provide 758m2 high quality flexible office space over basement, ground, first and second floor levels with associated ancillary accommodation and an external terrace to the rear of the building at roof level.

Externally the building will remain the same, the brick, stone and windows will be cleaned and sensitively repaired. Access will be via the large double height doors which will be carefully ‘eased’ so that they provide views into the space through internal glazed doors. It is also proposed that the roof will be repaired and the existing gallery glazing replaced with an elegant high performance system that will retain the existing look and feel of the space and open automatically to provide ventilation.

Internally the building will retain much of the existing fabric, strengthened to improve its longevity and use. Where possible, existing floors will be retained with the addition of slender steels. In addition to a lift, an elegant spiral staircase will further link floors together. Our client has encouraged us to develop proposals that are to the highest design and material quality to ensure that they are both attractive to new tenants and preserve the building. The site has incredibly been in our client’s ownership since 1727!