Adapting rectilinear seating into a circle
Roundhouse London, United Kingdom
The client sought to re-establish the Roundhouse as a creative centre for young people by converting the former Victorian turntable railway engine shed into a rock and arts venue that included young people's recording studios.
The objective for capacity was that the venue should be capable of holding maximum number of seated and standing audiences and be able to convert into an empty corporate hire venue.
The inherent challenges came from the budget for the seating and platforming which was half that of retractable seating systems and creating a seating system which could be demounted and put up in two days for 1800 seats.
As the performance and seating consultants AMPC designed variable seating layouts to create audiences of 500, 1200 and 1800 in formats of thrust stage, in the round and traverse.
AMPC researched all temporary seating systems in the market at the time.
The potential to form four different systems and then adapt to the new geometry of the space as a performance area were tendered. We worked with a successful staging company to adapt their system from a rectilinear to circular geometry. AMPC prepared layouts and storage requirements for each configuration.
We collaborated with a seating company to adapt their seats to the platforming system used.
The transformed Roundhouse opened in 2006 giving a new life to a long-time derelict building: the venue with such iconic history reborn to reassert its former excellent reputation for international programming.
Activities, shows & life of the project
Over the time and with strong artistic leadership the Roundhouse has established a strong rock and pop identity, as well as comedy, circus festivals, spoken word programmes and more recently amplified opera.
As technology developed and the programming success was established, the balcony seating was mechanised to increase the commercial offer.
The adaptable seating has proved very flexible, being reconfigured for seasons of the RSC as well as circuses.