Client: South Bank Corporataion
Completion: Sep 2007
The initial brief for this tiny project was simply to enclose the existing mixing desk at South Bank Piazza in the most economical fashion conceivable in order to allow sound technicians to permanently and securely install their complex audio-visual equipment insitu. The potential mundaneness of this brief was countered by the shared enthusiasm of the architect and the client representatives, both of whom firmly believed that any addition to this iconic public place needed to reflect and enhance the significance of the Piazza.
Our primary constraint was that there would only be a 2-week break in performances in the Piazza during which the construction of this new sound booth needed to be completed. In order to achieve this we designed a "shell" form which could be pre-fabricated entirely off-site and installed in less than a day, with the infill at each end being constructed around this superstructure in the remaining time.
The actual shape of the shell is generated primarily by the practical requirements of maintaining sightlines, continuing the line of the tiered seating, and avoiding any horizontal upper surfaces which might allow a place for people to stand on or fall from. An element of theatricality is brought to the shell by the way in which it presents a completely closed carapace when unused but then slowly opens out using electric rams in preparation for use.