Henry Sandon Hall Design Overview

Introduction 

The Royal Porcelain Works is a mixed-use development on the site of part of the old Royal WorcesterPorcelain factory. Having been vacant since 2008 when the factory closed, the site is now being developedand is due for completion in the summer 2018. There will be a new arts venue for the city, adjoining a delicafé with a studio gallery above that accommodates both resident and visiting artists, all overlooking ashared public space. Ten new residences are also being constructed.

The Henry Sandon Hall

The arts venue is to be located in and around the only listed building on the site, which is being refurbishedand extended to provide a bar, cafe and ancillary accommodation. The former porcelain display showroom has been stripped of lean-to additions to stand in its bold original form, recognised by the rhythm of pierson the north side abutting the Sliphouse. The well-known ‘front’ elevation visible from Severn Street will be restored, and the entire structure rendered to make it stand out amongst its brick neighbours as an exciting destination.

Inside, the showroom will be restored in a way that meets the needs of its 21st century use as aperformance venue and hub for the arts, whilst respecting the history of the setting. The building fabric is being upgraded to meet noise standards so that live performances do not disturb the neighbours. Internal finishes are designed to give an optimal reverberation time to suit the range of activities that will take place. The design of the interior also responds to original features that have been lost over the years, suchas the proportions of wall treatments, and the quatrefoil frames that adorned the upper part of the walls.

A specialist audio visual installation will give maximum flexibility for uses ranging from: live acoustic performances requiring stage lighting; presentations requiring ‘plug and play’ input and sound relay as well as a hearing loop; film-showing requiring digital screens linked to sound and controlled remotely; plus the display of artwork requiring adaptable exhibition lighting. The furniture layout in the hall will be flexible to accommodate activities ranging from seating in rows, to a cabaret format, to tables set out for an antiques fayre, for example. Flexible staging and a stage-loading door invite a broad range of performances.

Historic records show the basement being used as a ‘mould cellar’ and later a ‘clay cellar’, therefore it seems fitting that the hall will also use it as storage space to support the activities taking place there. There will be a discreet lift to transport bulky items between the two levels.groups. 

To the south side of the hall a new foyer and bar area is being built, with ancillary accommodation such as toilets and backstage dressing rooms. The foyer and bar areas will contrast with the historic building, being constructed from slender concrete columns supporting ‘glulam’ beams, and full height glazing. Internally there will be an industrial feel to remind us of the heritage of the site, with exposed brickwork softened through the use of timber and accented by features that highlight the ‘Royal Worcester Porcelain’ link.

Externally, the hall will have a private garden to the south, and there will be a new pedestrianised public space to the north accessed via Severn Street or King Street. This will be a focal point intended for markets, performances and external seating, around which the Museum of Royal Worcester, the Henry Sandon Hall, and the new deli café & studio gallery all gather. Topiary in raised planters will give the area structure, whilst the planting scheme takes cues from the museum archive of floral porcelain illustration.

Click here to find out more details on the project from KKE Architects

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