Contact Theatre, Manchester
The Arts Council Lottery enabled us to pile up all the company's accommodation, plus a full Studio Theatre and a full Rehearsal Room, a third venue, above their 400 seat main auditorium. Another feature of the former theatre was that it was spectacularly uncomfortable. The mechanical ventilation was too noisy to use during performances and audiences boiled even in early January.
However, we discovered that actors and directors hate artificial environments and are even more evangelical about them than even we can be. We endeavoured to build a wholly naturally conditioned urban complex of theatres on a noisy inner city site and we have succeeded. We would not dream of omitting mechanical ventilation and cooling unless the detailed simulations revealed it to be a viable strategy.