Opening Up the Royal Opera House

Opening Up the Royal Opera House

Opening up the Linbury Theatre and its entrance foyer has been many years in the planning. The objective: to transform what is the Royal Opera House’s smaller contemporary theatre into a truly world class stage for chamber opera and dance within the Royal Opera House. The improved entrance foyer will provide an artistic platform which will offer a series of flexible spaces that can be inhabited and curated by the Royal Opera House. This will bring a sense of the magic that is created each night on stage to these public areas, whilst improving the overall customer experience, facilities and accessibility to the theatre.

Improving Access and Customer Experience

The transformation of the foyer at ground level is at the heart of the changes being made. Improving accessibility through an expanded foyer onto Bow Street will provide the public with a bird’s eye view into the building and down into the entrance hall of the Linbury Theatre. The foyers re-design will help remove the bottle necks previously experienced when leaving the theatre, enhancing the customer experience when visiting this iconic venue. In addition to making acoustic, seating, sightline and foyer space enhancements, these improvements to the Linbury Studio Theatre will also bring it the fore as a world class mid-scale theatre and artistic space for the future aspirations and theatre programming needs of the Royal Opera House.

Project Management Excellence – Transforming Heritage Buildings

At the heart beat of all buildings lies the Mechanical & Electrical infrastructure which in buildings of this nature is what really makes buildings work, providing ambient surroundings and improving feel and customer experience. With the works being carried out whilst the main theatre at the Royal Opera House remains in full operation, ensuring a tightly managed programme which is both controlled and planned collaboratively with other key trades has been fundamental to its successful delivery. Munro’s Project Manager explains;

“Our client has very specific site processes and protocols and as you can imagine on a site like this; shut downs and diversions need to be highly planned and executed with a zero tolerance when it comes to having any impact on the Royal Opera House programme of events and performances.”

Alterations to the existing riser in the plant room needed diverting to enable structural alterations for other planned plant room improvements. The clients’ preferred process for the diversion required a number of duplicate tasks which increased risks and elongated the process and impact. Through careful collaborative working with the structural steelworker, we re-engineered the process to reduce these risks and remove duplicate activities, allowing the works to be carried out seamlessly.

3D Modelling – M&E Collaboration

The foyer area and it’s ceiling redesign incorporates an architectural coffered ceiling with a hidden central spine within the layout which is home to the new MEP services. These subsequently feedback to a new services hub to the rear of the foyer area where the new heating, ventilation and cooling systems are located. 3D modelling was used for this key element to plan the layout of both Mechanical and Electrical services within the ceiling spine. Working closely with Playfords as part of their integrated M&E delivery team was critical to ensure a well-planned spatially coordinated installation within the restricted area of the spine.

Managing Director Alan Tuohy commented “Playfords Limited have been delighted to have Munro Building Services as our partner on this prestigious project. The challenges and obstacles that have been overcome working within a building dating back over 150 years brought out the best in the relationship between Playfords & Munro and the ROH, with a keen eye for detail the project has been completed to the highest standards”

Playfords Limited are long standing Electrical Engineers and contractors established since 1925 and one of the oldest members of the Electrical Contractors Association, with offices in Dartford, Durham and the head office in Huntingdon serving clients throughout the UK.

This mechanical project was successfully completed and handed over in February 2018 and we look forward to its official re-opening once the rest of the construction works are complete on this high-profile project in April/May this year.

Why don’t you read about our other interesting projects within our heritage portfolio such as the National Trust’s Rainham Hall?

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