The Capitol Theatre, Horsham
Client: Horsham District Council
Awards: RIBA Downland Prize 2006 - Best Public Building winner
Constructed in 1936 as a single-auditorium cinema, this existing building underwent some conversion work in the 1980’s, but was proving increasingly restrictive to the ambitions of a modern arts centre.
Our solution sought to breathe life into the existing shell whilst retaining key elements of the building. The theatre and cinema were both fully refurbished, and a new 180 seat cinema inserted at first floor. New openings were formed in the side elevation, integrating a new bar, studio and supporting services alongside.
Finally, the existing Art Deco frontage was draped with a structural glass skin, lightly enclosing an external space, which acts as a modern ‘agora’. This incorporates bookings, reception, café and meeting space. Use ranges from meetings to exhibitions, providing a social space, which enlivens the street and links the old theatre with its new life.