WG+P Architects (Waind Gohil + Potter) have designed a new theatre square and pavilion as part of a wider mixed-use development to revive the Westgate area of Ipswich. The 35,000sqm site has been incorporated as part of Ipswich Borough Council’s development plan.
Phase 1 of the masterplan is to improve the area outside the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, including a new pavilion to be managed by the theatre. The new square will become the North
West gateway to Ipswich town centre, whilst the pavilion will become home to the theatre’s growing community engagement and creative learning programme. The space has been ergonomically designed to encourage collaborative working and provide a Tech Hub for developing digital skills in arts practise for those in Ipswich and Suffolk. The team also workedalongside the theatre in order to ensure that the building design incorporates a Changing Places facility, in addition to accessible toilets, to provide facilities for those with complex needs visiting the town.
Phase 1 has received planning consent from Ipswich Borough Council who commented: ‘A key objective of the proposal is to provide both an innovative and high-quality design in ensuring its ambition is to raise the local standard of design whilst respectfully acknowledging the existing vernacular of the surrounding area, including referencing the form of its immediate context.’
WG+P’s design for the new pavilion utilises a pre-fabricated timber structure developed with structural engineers Price & Myers and incorporates a striking concertinaed gold coloured metal roof. The landscape design includes new planting, lighting, projections and stree furniture.
Phil Waind, Director with WG+P commented; ‘This is a wonderful opportunity for us to create something delightful within the space and for all who visit Ipswich. The Willis Building, being
one of our favourites, is a short distance away and we wanted a design that aspires and uses construction methods relevant to today. The new public space and building will fundamentally
support The New Wolsey Theatre and allow them to maintain and enhance their status as a cultural landmark in the heart of Ipswich.’
Sarah Holmes, Chief Executive at the New Wolsey Theatre said; ‘It’s been an absolute delight to work in partnership with WG+P on this vital project. The marvellous golden-roofed pavilion
they have designed for us will enable our community programme to flourish and for the first time brings our performance and participation work together on one site. It will absolutely bring new life to the area around the theatre as well as transforming our audiences approach to the New Wolsey Theatre’
The site owner Peter de Savary of Charterhouse Investments commented: ‘We hope this project can set an example to others of where public / private partnerships can deliver regeneration and community benefit in this otherwise distressed market’.
Phase 1 is to commence in August 2019 with local main contactor Gipping and quantity surveyor Daniel Connal Partnership, and work commencing on the new building available to the New Wolsey for Autumn 2020.