Scheme part of wider £1.3bn redevelopment of the Olympia Exhibition Centre in Kensington
SPPARC’s revised plans to convert a grade II-listed car park into a performing arts space at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in Kensington have been given the green light.
The multi storey car park, built in 1937, will become home to a new theatre for the internationally renowned BRIT School, whose alumni include singers Amy Winehouse, Adele, Leona Lewis and Jessie J and actor Tom Holland.
Hammersmith & Fulham council’s planning committee voted unanimously to approve the scheme, which is part of the £1.3bn redevelopment of the Olympia which SPPARC is working on with Heatherwick and Haworth Tompkins.
An initial plan to convert the car park into offices was approved in 2019 but an application lodged in December last year sought adaptations to meet “changing visitor and market demands”.
Alterations also include replacing the previously approved office and conference space with a school and housing a gym in the basement instead of a cinema.
This requires increasing floor heights and an overall increase in building height which the application describes as “barely perceptible”. The proposals also include changes to the scheme’s glazing and the addition of a projecting monorail system at roof level for maintenance access.
SPPARC principal Trevor Morriss said the redevelopment would make the Olympia more inclusive. “As a cultural hub and exhibition centre for creatives, we want to encourage young people with a passion for the performing arts to be involved in its regeneration; to contribute to its diverse community and to share ideas in the same way that the Olympia Exhibition Centre has promoted for over a century,” he said.
BRIT School principal Stuart Worden said: “Having developed a very successful performing and creative arts school in South London that is now known around the world, we are excited about collaborating with a world class school in West London.”
Work on the redevelopment of the Olympia by main contractor Laing O’Rourke is well underway with all but the facade of the carpark having already been demolished.
The wider 190,000sq m scheme, due to complete in 2024, will see the construction of a total of two theatres, two hotels, another hotel, retail space and a rooftop park.