The Lyric Theatre involved the demolition of the existing theatre and the construction of a new building providing auditorium, rehearsal and studio theatre together with related technical facilities. Further accommodation includes reception, bar / foyer, offices and an education room.
The Lyric is sited between the characteristic grid pattern of the surrounding Belfast brick streetscape and the serpentine parkland setting of the river Lagan. The irregular outline of the boundaries of the site and the constraints of the sloping ground have given rise to a site specific design solution.
Our architectural design concept responds to these conditions by housing each the 3 principal functional elements of the building within its own distinctive brick box, with the public circulation spaces and staircases wrapping around the fixed forms of the theatre, studio and rehearsal, standing on the sloping ground of the site like rocks in a stream.
The solid sculpted brick volumes linked by transparent permeable public spaces are intended to visually connect the street through the Lyric woods to the continuous flowing line of the river through the city.
The public approach up a gently rising sandstone stair from the street and enter a dynamic foyer space from which both performance spaces are entered.The spiralling circulation pattern empathises the generating force of the performance spaces at the centre of the plan.
The large auditorium with its backstage fly tower has been sited back from the street line to minimise intrusion on the scale of the surrounding urban context. The faceted acoustic lining is in the shape of three timber arches, encloses the audience. The space has been designed to encourage and intensify the intimacy which is the most successful characteristic of the existing Lyric.
All the building materials are selected to endure and will be crafted to weather with age.