London’s Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall officially re-opened on 6 September, after the devastating fire that destroyed the venue in 2015. The opening is being marked with the Phoenix Season – a five-month celebration of risk-taking and renewal.
The Grand Hall has been restored by award-winning architects Haworth Tompkins and is now open for private and corporate events.
Housed in a Victorian Town Hall building, Battersea Arts Centre offers original features from a 125-year history and can host product launches, weddings, receptions, conferences and meetings.
New technical infrastructure concealed in the roof allows natural ventilation and greater technical, AV and acoustic possibilities than before.
The Grand Hall can host up to 300 guests for seated dinners and is serviced by its own in-house kitchen and adjoining bar. The venue can also host up to 600 standing or theatre-style, and up to 800 for a gig.
The Grand Hall has its own private entrance with guests arriving into the adjoining Octagonal Hall which has a mosaic floor and stained glass-domed ceiling.
The rebuild has retained the walls that survived the fire and conserved them ‘as-found’ in their scorched, post-fire richness and complexity. A dramatic new lattice ceiling takes inspiration from the original 19th century design.
David Jubb, artistic director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre says: “The re-opening of the Grand Hall marks a massive moment for us – it’s the first time the entire building has been fully open for the public to explore for 12 years… When the flames rose above the Grand Hall on Friday 13 March 2015 it looked as if all that progress might be lost. But due to brilliant and brave firefighters – and the incredible generosity of more than 6,000 people and organisations – the building was saved and the Grand Hall is reborn!”
Toby Jones, actor and patron of Battersea Arts Centre adds: “Battersea Arts Centre has not just been restored, it has been revolutionised. The Grand Hall is now one of the most exciting and flexible venues in London.”
Photo: Morley von Sternberg