The stage at Shoreditch granted planning consent

Plough Yard Development’s multi-million pound regeneration of a 2.5 acre site in Shoreditch, London, was granted planning consent last night. The Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will designed scheme will transform a significant, disused site in Hackney into a thriving new community with a scheduled ancient monument at its heart.

The development will comprise 385 residential units from studios to penthouse apartments all with balconies or roof terraces in a 40-storey residential tower building, which also provides a gym, private cinema and business facilities. Two office buildings totalling 250,000 sq ft will serve the technology media and telecommunications sector and 50,000 sq ft of retail space, cafés and restaurants will serve residents and visitors alike. Despite not being required due to high archaeological costs, 40 affordable housing units will be provided off site, delivered by Family Mosaic.

The scheme’s centrepiece will be a showcase of London’s second oldest Shakespearean playhouse, the 16thCentury Curtain Theatre – where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Henry V were first performed, which was discovered during archaeological investigations in 2011. The theatre and related finds will be excavated, preserved and exhibited in a 13,000 sq ft space including a 164-seat indoor auditorium, all designed by Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will, the firm behind the interior architecture of the recently launched Mary Rose Museum and Siemens’ The Crystal exhibition centre.

Externally, a 200-seat outdoor performance space will link to a new, 1.3 acre open square that will be brought to life with shops, bars, cafés and restaurants. An existing 19th Century Victorian railway viaduct will be restored to accommodate shops spilling out onto a plaza and with a 7,800 sq ft ‘urban park’ on top. In response to the growing popularity of cycling in London, 742 cycle parking spaces including 128 above ground for visitors are being provided and £149,000 is being invested in local Barclays cycle hire.

The design of the scheme ensures that the Curtain Theatre takes centre stage. The exhibition space takes its shape from the excellently preserved remains of the 14-sided, 22m diameter theatre, and this sits at the heart of a high quality development that responds to its Shoreditch setting, creates a thriving new community and gives 50% of its footprint to public realm. The site will be reconnected to its surroundings through links between Shoreditch and Hoxton, Spitalfields and the City, and its buildings will provide a contrast to the sleek glass and aluminium buildings in the city by adopting earthy and robust architecture.

John Drew, architect and principal of Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will (formerly Pringle Brandon Drew), said:

“It is a privilege to be preserving such an archaeological discovery for generations to come. The scheme’s design as well as its name befits the hidden gem currently 3m underground and ensures that the Curtain Theatre takes centre stage when this disused site in Shoreditch is regenerated. We’ll be working very closely with the Museum of London Archaeology and English Heritage throughout the scheme’s development to safeguard this amazing find and create an outstanding, internationally significant cultural and educational attraction.”

A spokesperson from Plough Yard Developments, said:

“We called the development The Stage – Shoreditch to mark the area’s legacy and enduring role as one of London’s foremost creative quarters. We are delighted that our development will create new jobs, help to revitalise the site, and attract more visitors to Shoreditch through its association with Shakespeare.

“Our ‘Shoreditch-facing’ development not only provides the space required by the creative industries that drive the area’s revival, but also provides a resource for education as well as creative and artistic expression. We intend to work with the local authority to ensure that the archaeological find becomes a vibrant focus for the local community, as well as one of Hackney’s principal attractions. We will be exploring how to achieve this during the coming months.”

Sustainability underpins the scheme. The development maximises the benefits of a mixed-use scheme with a central, combined heat and power energy centre providing energy, heat and ‘coolth’ throughout the daily cycle. The commercial and retail components of the scheme are designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent and the residential units will achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4. Passive measures have been adopted and green roofs and sedum roofs with solar panels will be installed. The scheme will achieve a 34% improvement on 2010 building regulations – over and above the 25% targeted in the London Plan.

The site is bounded by Curtain Road, Hewett Street, Plough Yard and Hearn Street and is currently a lifeless zone between the thriving areas of Shoreditch and the City. Once developed, The Stage along with Principal Place will provide a ‘bridge’ between the City, Sptialfields and Shoreditch, adding to the area’s rich mix of attractions.

Team credits:

  • Developer: Plough Yard Developments Ltd.
  • Development advisor: Allsop LLP
  • Planning advisor: Montagu Evans
  • Architect: Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will
  • Landscape architects: Townshend Landscape Architects
  • M&E engineer and sustainability advisor: Caterday
  • Structural engineer: Buro Happold
  • Cost consultant: Gardiner & Theobald
  • Transport consultant: Stilwell Partnership
  • Archaeology consultant: MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology