Royal Opera House Gets Go Ahead To 'Open Up'

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 32 months ago
Royal Opera House Gets Go Ahead To 'Open Up'
Proposed new Bow Street façade © Stanton Williams 2014
Proposed new Bow Street façade © Stanton Williams 2014
There's another new entrance planned on Covent Garden Piazza entrance © Stanton Williams 2014
There's another new entrance planned on Covent Garden Piazza entrance © Stanton Williams 2014
What the new ground floor foyer could look like © Stanton Williams 2014
What the new ground floor foyer could look like © Stanton Williams 2014
Proposed ground floor foyer © Stanton Williams 2014
Proposed ground floor foyer © Stanton Williams 2014
The Linbury Studio Theatre will get an overhaul too © Stanton Williams 2014
The Linbury Studio Theatre will get an overhaul too © Stanton Williams 2014
Model of the ground floor foyer © Stanton Williams 2014
Model of the ground floor foyer © Stanton Williams 2014

A major overhaul of the Royal Opera House (ROH) will see new entrances on Bow Street and Covent Garden Piazza, an enlarged ground floor foyer, and refurbished theatres.

The £27million Open Up project got the green light from Westminster City Council on 17 March, and you can see what those plans entail in the gallery above. Start and completion dates are yet to be released.

ROH chief executive Alex Beard said the project will "create new opportunities to inspire audiences with our art forms; and will help this wonderful place come alive throughout the day as one of London’s great cultural assets".

One of the major problems with the ROH's current designs, the Open Up project explains, is congestion.  Space, it seems, is in short supply all round at the ROH, with one comment on the website remarking: "I hope... the ROH will at some point seek planning permission for seating for average-shouldered adult human beings born following the passing of David Lloyd-George's 1909 welfare reforms, which greatly reduced childhood malnutrition and created the average British physique which exists today."

Architects Stanton Williams is behind the new designs. The firm is responsible for the revitalised King's Cross station, and currently taking on the regeneration of the the area around Centre Point.

There have been five opera houses on this spot since the mid-18th century. The current incarnation was built in in 1858, and designed by EM Barry, son of Charles Barry.

Last Updated 19 March 2015

Lauren

I believe there have only been three theatres on the site. John Rich opened the first in 1732, which burnt down in 1808. The second theatre opened the following year and it too burnt down in 1856. Barry's theatre (the present one) is thus the third on the site. Its orientation is at 90 degrees to the first two, however.