Alexandra Palace in Norht London was the outlier in immersive experiences long before anyone even thought of the word. The Las Vegas of 19th century London, this Palace of the People was designed to create worlds within worlds, using every possible trick of light, sound, pyrotechnics and spatial immersion.

Alexandra Palace in Norht London was the outlier in immersive experiences long before anyone even thought of the word. The Las Vegas of 19th century London, this Palace of the People was designed to create worlds within worlds, using every possible trick of light, sound, pyrotechnics and spatial immersion.

While a partner at FCBStudios architectural practice I worked to transform this huge palace into a newly immersive experience for the 21st century. The east wing of the building had been neglected for decades but remains a powerfully narrative space, its very fabric and volumes telling the stories of the spectacle of the Victorian era, as well as the excitement of the BBC’s first ever television broadcast. At the heart of the wing is the East Court, cathedral-like in its lofty volumes and vast floor area, inspiring awe and great anticipation for the fun and games to be discovered throughout the Palace.

While a partner at FCBStudios architectural practice I worked to transform this huge palace into a newly immersive experience for the 21st century. The east wing of the building had been neglected for decades but remains a powerfully narrative space, its very fabric and volumes telling the stories of the spectacle of the Victorian era, as well as the excitement of the BBC’s first ever television broadcast. At the heart of the wing is the East Court, cathedral-like in its lofty volumes and vast floor area, inspiring awe and great anticipation for the fun and games to be discovered throughout the Palace.

Through the East Court lies the secretive and compelling Theatre, left for many years in a state of decay. Celebrating that decay as a quintessential part of the narrative and of the experience, we focused on stabilising the built fabric and only introducing new elements where absolutely necessary. Here the big architectural move was NOT to make a big architectural move - except for the critical one of flattening the raked floor to enable maximum flexibility of use. No one thought London needed another theatre but who doesn’t love a theatre like this one - a wonderfully evocative space that embraces you in its centuries old stories while at the same time providing a fantastic environment to enjoy a 21st century spectacle.

Through the East Court lies the secretive and compelling Theatre, left for many years in a state of decay. Celebrating that decay as a quintessential part of the narrative and of the experience, we focused on stabilising the built fabric and only introducing new elements where absolutely necessary. Here the big architectural move was NOT to make a big architectural move - except for the critical one of flattening the raked floor to enable maximum flexibility of use. No one thought London needed another theatre but who doesn’t love a theatre like this one - a wonderfully evocative space that embraces you in its centuries old stories while at the same time providing a fantastic environment to enjoy a 21st century spectacle.

Detail of stabilised historic fabric with new seating to meet 21st century access and performance needs.

Detail of stabilised historic fabric with new seating to meet 21st century access and performance needs.

Alexandra Palace East Court Arrival
A newly-create bar area at Alexandra Palace, the historic fabric still in place, the drama of the high ceiling still very much a part of the experience but new bar, new floor, new lighting to create a comfortable and characterful place to socialise.

A newly-create bar area at Alexandra Palace, the historic fabric still in place, the drama of the high ceiling still very much a part of the experience but new bar, new floor, new lighting to create a comfortable and characterful place to socialise.

Alexandra Palace Theatre Ceiling Rose

Alexandra Palace Theatre Ceiling Rose