The King’s School Chester is located in the countryside of Cheshire and is a leading independent school in the area. The school approached CGL to review a feasibility study for the refurbishment of the theatre hall. The proposed solution complicated access, ruined spacious qualities of the neighbouring dining hall and was limited to retractable seating. CGL proposed a revised scheme which provided the client with a better quality space with increased versatility for almost half the cost. Fixed support spaces for the hall (e.g. changing rooms, storage) were placed on either end of the open space (26m x 13.5m and 6.7m high) to allow for the remainder of the space to be unfixed with the installation of a retractable seating system, a retractable curtain system, removable staging, adaptable lighting rigs, modular stage units and movable side wings.
The design particularly considered the speed and ease of transforming the space as they wanted to remove any barriers for change (e.g. seats can be fully open or retracted in 10 minutes by a single person). Additional loose chairs are provided for special events and stack on a trolley to be moved and stored easily. Moreover, the architects illustrated to the school that if they increased the level of WC provision as part of the project they would not have to rely on other facilities within the school to meet public licensing requirements which enables the school to hire the theatre for private use and keep the rest of the school closed off – reducing costs and management associated with external hire and increasing its attractiveness. The space has been transformed from a rarely used space to now being widely used for school activities and hired events.
Images courtesy of CGL architects