Watford Colosseum

PROJECTS / Culture + Community

The Watford Colosseum Complex includes a 1938 Grade II Listed auditorium (with seating capacity of 1200), events spaces and service facilities adjoining Watford Town Hall. The venue is nationally significant for its heritage features and renowned acoustic properties being used to record famous film soundtracks, including The Lord of the Rings, The Sound of Music and Star Wars. The wider townscape will be transformed into a new “cultural hub” for Watford with the Colosseum acting as a catalyst further regeneration.

We explored a detailed series of options to improve the versatility of the complex, including internal interventions and new extensions with a key part of the brief being to propose new revenue streams for the Colosseum. We identified underused areas and proposed how these could operate through the day and into the evening to provide coworking spaces, new food and beverage offerings, bookable exercise studios, music teaching spaces and recording rooms. These will be rented by different organisations and used by youth music groups at West Herts College to encourage people from all backgrounds to explore and make music first-hand.

As there are many types of user groups, it was important to clarify how building users should navigate through the space. A wayfinding ribbon was designed to bring coherence to the visitor experience, wrapping through the interior of the Colosseum and extending outside into the public realm. New fixed and demountable furniture options were proposed to provide merchandise counters, drinking shelves and seating areas to allow the space to be transformed and tailored to different events.

To increase the external legibility of the Colosseum, we worked around the existing heritage fabric to provide new signage and branding to increase visibility of the venue entrance. This includes a new digital projection onto the building offering additional advertising potential.

Alongside the conceptual design, we assessed the existing building condition to determine which technical compliance upgrades would be required to bring the complex in line with those of a modern theatre venue.  This included reviewing areas such as the sustainability strategy (to provide a 35% betterment in comparison to Part L) and making improvements across the design to ensure this is inclusive and accessible for all users.

LOCATION Watford, London
CLIENT Watford Borough Council
VALUE £10m
SECTOR Culture and Community


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