Nevill Holt Opera

Structural Designer

Price & Myers

Client Name

Nevill Holt Opera


Market Harborough, UK

Northfield Construction

Witherford Watson Mann Architects

Max Fordham LLP - M&E engineer
Gleeds - Quantity surveyor
Sound Space Design - Theatre consultant
Julian Harrap Architects - Conservation architect Images: © Helene Binet


The creation of a permanent 400-seater opera theatre with an orchestra pit for 45 musicians within the courtyard of a 17th Century Grade II* listed stable block. 

Judge's comment:

The transformation of the courtyard of Nevill Holt Hall, a 17th century listed stable block with 19th century wings, in order to provide a permanent home to their summer opera festival, required sensitive engineering solutions to avoid damage to the existing brick, ironstone and rubble infill walls. 

Clever sequencing of basement construction in order to provide both the orchestra pit and air conditioning plenum involved excavation of the central area leaving peripheral berms to maintain stability of the walls in the temporary condition.

The peripheral retaining walls were then constructed in 1.5m sections to avoid underpinning existing walls. 

Roof construction in steelwork rather than timber ensured maintaining sightlines while keeping the new courtyard building total height within planning restrictions.

Padstone construction between existing rafters allowed support of the new roof on the old walls, and a clever combination of portal action in the temporary condition being transformed into simple supports by the removal of one set of bolts at the beam/column connection, enabled construction to proceed with minimal temporary bracing. 

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