Haworth Tompkins Selected to Design A.R.T.’s Future Home

Haworth Tompkins Selected to Design American Repertory Theater’s Future Home on Harvard University’s Allston Campus

June 5, 2019—Cambridge, MA—American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, under the leadership of Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus and Executive Producer Diane Borger, announced today that it has selected internationally renowned architects Haworth Tompkins to design the A.R.T.’s future home on Harvard’s Allston campus. The forthcoming center for research and performance will be the first US building designed by the UK-based firm, winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects 2014 Stirling Prize for its design of Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, England. Haworth Tompkins leads a team that also includes theatrical consultancy firm Charcoalblue and Boston-based ARC/ Architectural Resources Cambridge.

“Haworth Tompkins’ reputation precedes it as one of the great architectural studios of our time,” says Paulus. “Their work—including the Young Vic in London and the recent transformation of the Battersea Arts Center—reflects the dynamic, transformational energy that is at the core of any theatrical event. Drawing on its experience in sustainable design and urban development, Haworth Tompkins also profoundly understands the role that theaters can play within our cities and communities. It is committed to the values that animate our work at A.R.T., and I look forward to working with HT Director Steve Tompkins and the team to create a building that exemplifies our shared vision of the theater as a town hall for the 21st century.”

Founded in 1991 by Graham Haworth and Steve Tompkins, Haworth Tompkins is recognized for creating intelligent, purposeful, and sustainable designs, and has received over 150 awards for projects across the sectors of culture, urban residential, heritage, and higher education. It is responsible for more than a dozen of the UK’s most highly regarded new and renovated theater buildings, beginning in 2000 with a reworking of London’s Royal Court Theatre.

Signature projects include:

  • Young Vic (2006): HT rebuilt a space originally designed to be temporary that had evolved into the home of a world-famous theatrical powerhouse. Updates included an upgraded auditorium for greater theatrical flexibility and a multi-functional bar/foyer space at the building’s heart that serves as a natural extension of the public street, connecting all three auditoria and serving as a public living room for the local community. Each individual component of the reimagined building was expressed as an individual element to create a more informal presence amongst the mixed scales of the surrounding streetscape. RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist, RIBA London Building of the Year award, and the Civic Trust Award.
  • Liverpool Everyman (2013): Charged with replacing and re-presenting an iconic Liverpool institution at the center of the city’s cultural and political life, Haworth Tompkins encapsulated the original building’s classless, democratic values. Key features include a façade of more than 100 life-sized portrait shutters representing ordinary residents, an auditorium constructed of reclaimed bricks from the former building, and an adaptable thrust stage. The first theater to be recognized with the RIBA Stirling Prize, and the winner of the Chicago Athenaeum Architecture Award, and The Stage Theatre Building of the Year Award.
  • National Theatre (2015): Charged with the revitalization of one of the world’s most important producing theaters, Haworth Tompkins designed a new production building and an updated auditorium, transforming the NT’s engagement with the adjacent river walk and surrounding neighborhood, regenerating its main entrance and foyers, and activating the surrounding public spaces. Winner of a RIBA National Award, RICS National Award, Civic Trust Award, and The Stage Theatre Building of the Year Award.
  • Bridge Theatre (2017): The first wholly new large theater to be added to London’s commercial theater sector in 80 years, the building features a 900-seat adaptable auditorium. Winner of a RIBA London Award and The Stage Theatre Building of the Year Award.
  • Battersea Arts Centre (2018): Haworth Tompkins has been working alongside the Battersea Arts Centre team, the local community, and theater artists for over a decade on a series of ongoing projects that are gradually transforming the 1893 civic building into a center of creative communal activity and an explicit record of the building’s vivid history. Winner of The Stage Theatre Building of the Year Award and a RIBA regional award.

Haworth Tompkins Director Steve Tompkins says, “We are delighted to be joining the A.R.T. and Harvard University in imagining the new center for theater research and performance at Allston. Our shared vision for the project is multi-faceted: we will aim to create an inspiring environment for making and experiencing theater; an enduring cultural asset for the University; a positive contributor to the richness and diversity of Allston; an exemplar of environmentally responsible design; and a welcoming place of entertainment, reflection, and debate for the whole community.”

In January 2019, Tompkins was named the most influential person in British theater by the UK’s The Stage, topping a list of 100 producers, artists, and others. Calling him a modern-day successor to Frank Matcham, the renowned Victorian designer responsible for many of London’s most recognizable theaters, it wrote, “Unlike Matcham, whose theaters divided audiences by class, Tompkins’ approach is all about democratizing theatergoing…he is literally and physically transforming British theater, and his legacy will be experienced by millions of theatergoers for years to come.”

Harvard University announced in February that a transformative gift from David E. ’93 and Stacey L. Goel would make it possible to begin planning for A.R.T.’s new home, which will anchor the university’s arts presence on its developing Allston campus.

The A.R.T., representatives from Harvard University, and a peer architect review panel unanimously selected Haworth Tompkins for this project after reviewing proposals from firms based in the US and UK. A site for the new building has yet to be announced. Design work on the new building is in the early stages, and the A.R.T. will continue to produce work at the Loeb Drama Center for several years while plans develop.


About Haworth Tompkins

Haworth Tompkins is a British architectural studio, voted Building Design Architect of the Year and RIBA London Architect of the Year. Founded in 1991 by Graham Haworth and Steve Tompkins, the studio has an international reputation for theater design, the Liverpool Everyman Theatre winning the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year by a UK architect. Haworth Tompkins was part of the Gold Award UK winning team at the Prague Quadrennial and was chosen to exhibit theatre work at the Venice Biennale. Performance projects include the Royal Court, the Almeida temporary theatres at Kings Cross and Gainsborough Studios, Snape Maltings, the Young Vic Theatre (shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize), The Egg at Bath, the Oxford North Wall, NT Future, Battersea Arts Centre, Bristol Old Vic, and Bridge Theatre. The studio has additionally won numerous major awards for its work on social housing, heritage, and higher education projects.


About Charcoalblue

Charcoalblue is the world’s leading, theatre, acoustic, and digital design consultancy. Since their foundation in 2004, they have grown to a team of over 75 with studios in London, Bristol, Glasgow, New York, Chicago, and Melbourne. Charcoalblue’s passion for their work means they deliver the best possible spaces for performance, education, culture, and workplaces. In partnership with clients, architects, and engineering teams they offer design services for a wide range of buildings and other projects: from historic theatres to contemporary offices, from concert halls to community centers, from permanent buildings to temporary structures, and in both physical and virtual environments. Charcoalblue collaborate with some of the world’s leading architects and arts groups, and have a longstanding relationship with Haworth Tompkins spanning the last 15 years. Their portfolio ranges from world-famous companies like the Royal Shakespeare Company, the London Symphony Orchestra, the National Theatre and Royal Opera House in the UK; Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, St. Ann’s Warehouse and the World Trade Center in the US; as well as Sydney Theatre Company in Australia and Waikato Regional Theatre in New Zealand. Charcoalblue have recently been announced as Theater Consultant for the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side. Their work with educational institutions includes LAMDA and Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. The studio’s digital design service includes research into the use of immersive technology for cinema, broadcast, and events spaces, and counts top tech and entertainment companies as clients, including Google, Facebook, and BAFTA. Charcoalblue’s mission is to transform the cultural landscape through the creation of inspirational spaces for storytelling and music-making.


About ARC/ Architectural Resources Cambridge

ARC/ Architectural Resources Cambridge is a nationally-recognized architectural, planning, and interior design firm specializing in education, performing arts, life science, sports and recreation, and multi-use campus facilities. The firm consistently applies a collaborative approach to architecture, one based on a 50-year tradition of providing design excellence for clients. Recently recognized as a global Top 50 Firm in Sustainabilityby ARCHITECT Magazine, ARC brings a team of knowledgeable advocates for sustainable design, LEED practices, and healthy buildings.