SODA's hi-tech rotating theatre recalls the past in its aesthetic

We looked for design inspiration from the original Raymond Revuebar and the surrounding streets and buildings.
– Russell Potter

The Studio of Design and Architecture (SODA) has created a new theatre with a revolving auditorium, a quickly adaptable configuration for a diverse range of events and a striking glass, brickwork and Art Deco aesthetic.

The Boulevard Theatre is part of a wider and ongoing 55,000sq ft (5,100sq m) mixed-use development in London also designed by Soda for Soho Estates.

The theatre is split into two volumes – with the auditorium in one and a restaurant and bar space in the other – that are different colours and separated by a footpath, but that are identifiable as one entity through a cohesive visual style.

A double-height glazed bridge crossing the footpath at the first-floor level joins the two buildings and provides another visual identifier of their singular use.

Façades of interlocking bricks clad the original theatre and large glazed expanses provide views of inside, including of a rolled-steel feature staircase that hangs in the corner of one volume.

The cylindrical auditorium, developed with theatre specialists Charcoalblue, can revolve 270° at both stall and balcony level, allowing for scene changes or for different room configurations.

Virtual reality technology was used in the design process to help visualise the seven different potential permutations of the space.

The auditorium has also been designed so that it can be quickly reset and reconfigured between shows, ensuring downtime is minimised.

The restaurant and bar space has an Art Deco-inspired aesthetic, with pink panelled walls, brass fittings and a lace-patterned design referencing the net curtains of the brothels from the local area's past.

Russell Potter, director at SODA Studio, said: "The history of Soho has played such a huge role in the development of this theatre. We looked for design inspiration from the original Raymond Revuebar and the surrounding streets and buildings.

"We have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work on every aspect of the theatre, from the bricks on the outside to the menus in the restaurant. We are delighted to see that the final building and auditorium has outstripped all our wildest dreams for how a 21st-century theatre might look and function."

Work on the Boulevard Theatre project started in October 2015 and was completed in October 2019.

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SODA's hi-tech rotating theatre recalls the past in its aesthetic
The Studio of Design and Architecture (SODA) has created a new theatre with a revolving auditorium, a quickly adaptable configuration for a diverse range of events and a striking glass, brickwork and Art Deco aesthetic.