Reed Watts Architects’ sensitively designed rehearsal and catering space at London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre complements its woodland setting


Simon Kennedy

Reed Watts Architects has extended the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London with a 480-square-metre building comprising rehearsal studios, a kitchen, and green room. Located amongst the protected Royal Parks trees and constructed in just seven months, the project consolidates the theatre’s operations on one site for the first time in its 86-year history.


The lightweight, prefabricated, cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure was erected during the winter – when the theatre was closed – and features relatively small foundations to minimise the impact on nearby tree roots. In reference to the woodland setting, the CLT frame is exposed in the circulation spaces.

Ground- and first-floor plans; section

Externally, the two-storey building is clad in a band of dark stained larch at the base, with a crown of textured cladding at high level. The facade presents a black restrained face to the public sides (inner circle and nannies lawn) with a richer golden texture visible from the theatre, explains the architect.


The ground floor plan is split in two with the catering space partially enclosing the double-height studio. Rehearsal spaces and a green room are located on the first floor. Measuring 14.3×10 metres, the studio is designed to accommodate the varying needs of dancers, actors and acrobats. The space includes a sprung floor with underfloor heating, 4.1-metre-high ceilings, and a full-height mirror and curtain. Daylight and glimpses of the surrounding trees are provided by rooflights and a large framed window – all of which can be blacked-out by integral blinds. The space is mechanically ventilated and cooled from high-level ductwork.

The new kitchen is twice the size of the existing catering space, allowing the theatre to improve and broaden its culinary offering to staff and visitors. It includes five chef stations and servery, which opens out pre-show onto the picnic lawn.

Additional Images


Reed Watts Architects
Structural engineer
Price & Myers
Services engineer
Quantity surveyor
Bristow Johnson