Name: Sparkenhoe Community Theatre

Facts and Figures

Architect: Ash Sakula Architects

Further Information

Ash Sakula Architects have built a 200 seat community theatre for Leicester City Council under the government’s space for sports and arts programme. The building provides a flexible teaching and performance facility for dance, drama and music. It serves both the local primary school across the road and a diverse local community where forty different languages are spoken.

The clients were determined to demolish the decrepit former dole office on the site - a nineteen fifties prefab - and build anew. The Architects persuaded them that reusing the existing building could provide them with the space they needed within their budget, whereas a new building could not. The two keys to the architectural approach were to transform the building’s appearance on the outside and to flood the formerly dingy interior with light to make the centre open and welcoming.

Ash Sakula Architects built a simple new box in an open corner of the site to house the theatre auditorium, a black box with flat sprung floor and retractable seating. Ancillary spaces are housed in the existing building. It is a sustainable building, not just because it is highly insulated and uses green materials, but also because it recycles an existing resource, the redundant dole office, rather than building from scratch.

The budget for the building was £0.65m and it was completed in February 2004.

RIBA award for architecture 2004


Downloadable Images (click to download)

Sparkenhoe Theatre