Blueprint Awards 2014 - the winners

Best Sustainable Project or Product

The Shed, London, UK by Haworth Tompkins

Blueprint Awards 2014 Best Sustainable Project or Product The Shed, London, UK by Haworth Tompkins   

The Shed is a bright-red, temporary, 250-seat theatre for the National Theatre on London's South Bank. It provides a third auditorium while the Cottesloe Theatre is closed during a major regeneration project (also by Haworth Tompkins) for Lasdun's Grade II* listed building. The brief stipulated that it needed to be designed and constructed quickly, on a modest budget, to be sustainable in construction and operation, and to ultimately give the NT the opportunity to experiment with new types of theatre design. The Shed's temporary nature, building on Haworth Tompkins' earlier projects for the Almeida in King's Cross and the Gainsborough Studios, makes it less a building than an event or installation -- a vibrant intervention on London's South Bank designed to stop passers-by in their tracks.

The Shed's simple form houses an auditorium made of raw steel and plywood. A temporary foyer was created beneath the NT's external terraces, where minimal construction was needed and connections could easily be made to the Lyttelton foyer. While the rough-sawn timber cladding refers to the NT's concrete, its red colour was taken from Dutch barns. Natural ventilation was a driving principle of the design, resulting in the corner towers, whose height creates a stack effect to pull air from inlets behind the seats. The foyer design accessed existing foyer toilets, avoiding any plumbing or water use. Construction materials were selected for recycling -- the steelwork, for example, was left untreated to make it easier to reuse. Theatre lighting and seating was relocated from elsewhere in the NT, and bar furniture made from offcuts. Further iterations of The Shed concept, in development for different sites, are exploring options such as an energy storage and a control system that would allow The Shed to minimise energy use.

Judges' Comments

'A beautiful, sculptural addition to the National Theatre, the red stain to the timber strangely exciting. A great pilot for sustainable, small theatres.' Cany Ash


  • Brighton Waste House, UK by BBM Sustainable Design
  • CoRE (Centre of Refurbishment Excellence), Stoke-on-Trent, UK by Purcell
  • Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, Antartica by Hugh Broughton Architects/AECOM
  • School Floating in the Sky, Sangkhlaburi village, Thailand by Kikuma Watanbe

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