Team all set to go for Congress makeover

The new look Congress Theatre with a public realm outside SUS-141106-125828001
The new look Congress Theatre with a public realm outside SUS-141106-125828001

The £35 million project to redevelop Devonshire Park and the Congress Theatre took a step closer this week with the news that a trio of contractors has been appointed to carry out the work from August.

The firm Faithful+Gould has been chosen to manage the restoration of the Congress Theatre facade which involves installing specialist glazing and replacing window frames at the Grade II listed venue.

The contractor is working with English Heritage to ensure significant repairs needed to the façade are in keeping with the original 1963 style, and that existing support columns will remain and be protected. Work is due to start in August and will be completed in spring 2015. The theatre will remain open while the repairs are carried out. Previous projects involving Faithful+Gould include the University of Leicester’s David Wilson Library and the William Morris Gallery in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

Meanwhile, Focus has been appointed project manager for the broader Devonshire Park masterplan to transform it into a thriving cultural destination. The Focus team will manage the next stage of the design and business planning which incorporates the upgrading and layout of tennis courts. They will manage the project through to completion, overseeing the restoration of the listed buildings including the next stage of the Congress Theatre improvements and any new buildings needed to attract conferences and exhibitions, as well as new public realm in front of the Congress.

Purcell, a firm of expert conservation architects, is also on board to ensure a complete understanding of the significance and uniqueness of the wider heritage of the area and ensure it is preserved in respect to the forthcoming development. Conservation schemes Purcell has worked on include the refurbishment of Canterbury Cathedral and the British Museum.