The initial goal was twofold – firstly the expansion of the present John Mackintosh Hall Theatre, secondly the refurbishment and upgrade of the John Mackintosh Hall complex. Architectural studies quickly determined that when both aims are approached in unison the scope for achievement is far greater.
Our approach is ambitious in seeing the potential of the building as a singular cultural hub for the community. For this all-peripheral activities need to be permanently relocated, and segments of the building need to be demolished in favour of new construction tailored for the 21st Century. All this with the added challenge of remaining honest and respectful to the integrity of the original building design. The solution has been simple in concept but complex in execution.
Firstly, the original theatre volume is surgically removed. The freed space can be linked in with adjacent rear courtyards to provide the volume needed for a 900+ seat ‘National Theatre’. This new volume is to be tailored to suit the flexibility and range of performances to be housed. Its independence from the rest of the building allows for the height and scale of modern auditorium, fly-tower and backstage facilities needed for such a facility. All whilst respecting the exterior and heart of the building. This volume is the new centrepiece of the complex and the generator of all new internal planning. Around this volume existing facilities will continue to function, but these will be re-planned more efficiently, all growing from the Main Street entrance courtyard, which will continue to function as the ‘heart’ of the building.