Royal Opera House Completes Major Refurbishment

September 2018

London’s Royal Opera House (ROH) has been reinvigorated following a major transformation. Designed by Stanton Williams, Equals were project managers on the refurbishment, working closely with the design team, construction managers Rise and over 30 contractors to enhance the experience for the public, staff and performers alike.

Constructed over nearly three years with the venue remaining operational throughout, this complex project balances the desire to attract new audiences for ballet and opera with the need to respect the ROH’s heritage and unique character.

One of the project’s biggest challenges Equals faced as project managers was the logistical complexity of carving out new space for the interventions whilst the building remained in use. Time restrictions were also in place due to the surrounding residential accommodation. Thanks to careful phasing and decanting throughout the lengthy construction programme, we were able to ensure that not one ROH rehearsal or main auditorium performance was missed.

With a final construction cost estimated at £50.7 million, the scheme involved re-designing both the Bow Street and Covent Garden piazza entrances, new foyers (an increase of 50% foyer space) including a larger shop (designed by Drinkall Dean) and new café. The Linbury Studio theatre has been completely replaced with the new Linbury Theatre. This state-of-the-art facility has a a 400 seat auditorium and is fitted with adjustable seating configurations and electroacoustic technology.

The Opera House has also refurbished the Amphitheatre and Amphitheatre Terrace, opening up the Amphitheatre foyer and introducing a new bar and 230-cover restaurant (designed by Studio Linse) which will be open to the public rather than just performance-goers. The Clore Studio learning space has also been refurbished.

Project Director at the Royal Opera House, Sarah Younger, said:
The Equals team have been invaluable in helping us to deliver a complex, challenging project within the Opera House. Their experience, advice and approach to understanding our needs, those of the multiple stakeholders and the project has been a vital part of the project’s success.

Tony Wilson, Director at Equals said:
We are thrilled to have worked on such an interesting and culturally significant project, and to have delivered it with minimum impact to the day to day operations of the Opera House is a great achievement.