Foster Wilson Architects, green renovation, church renovation, heritage building, historic building, courtyard, England, listed buildings, glass walls, auditorium, performing arts center

The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s combines the old and new to transform this important Grade II listed building. The original structure has been converted into a 300-seat galleried courtyard theater with the addition of a new foyer and backstage extension which opens up to the church garden. It will be used by the Bedford School, the local community and touring theater groups.

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Foster Wilson Architects, green renovation, church renovation, heritage building, historic building, courtyard, England, listed buildings, glass walls, auditorium, performing arts center

“We wanted to respect and work with the grain of the original building while adapting it to its new use,” said architect Tim Foster. “Wherever possible, original spaces have been restored by removing later additions that confused the clarity of the original plan.”

Foster Wilson Architects, green renovation, church renovation, heritage building, historic building, courtyard, England, listed buildings, glass walls, auditorium, performing arts center

The architects converted the central area of the chapel into a large hall by building a steel structure in the interior to avoid disruption to the original volume and historic facade. New sight lines to the stage are provided by extending forward the existing balcony and extending two levels of new galleries along both sides of the auditorium.

Foster Wilson Architects, green renovation, church renovation, heritage building, historic building, courtyard, England, listed buildings, glass walls, auditorium, performing arts center

A curved glass wall encompasses an additional foyer and bar and opens out to a terrace, providing panoramic views of the gardens. Additional spaces such as offices and a studio are located on the upper levels, while front-of-the-house facilities occupy the former minister’s house adjoining the church.

+ Foster Wilson Architects

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Photos by Philip Vile