The basement floor houses the largest functional requirement of the brief: the large events space. This significant volume functionally divides the plan into four bands:

  • Back of house
  • Large events space
  • Circulation
  • Plant

Two of these serve the events space directly, - back of house and circulation - the fourth - the plant - services the entire building. These four key divisions (a) allow direct public access to the events space from the upper floors, (b) maintain a visual connection to the events space from the street (c) position the back of house discretely and usefully and (d) service the venue locally.

Large events space:
The basement location of the large events is strategically designed for daytime gathering, night-time gigs and a night club. A double height space throughout, the height rises to triple height along the Sheffield Street frontage to provide views down into the events space from the street. By day this will provide daylight, adding to its multifunctionality. By night this could provide an interesting glimpse of the action to the passerby. The venue space is unique within the building in terms of its noise sensitivity and production. As a result it has a particular construction method, the box in box, which allows it to be structurally and therefore acoustically separate from the remainder of the building. The space between the inner and outer walls of the box in box is modulated to create alcoves for more intimate conversation and respite from the crowded room.

he main access to the events space comes via the spiral stair - an event in itself as it corkscrews its way from the ground floor down, cloakrooms, restrooms and gathering places provided from its landings.

Back of house:
The bar is situated at the back, west wall of the venue, allowing an area for queuing and drinking. It is strategically placed to absorb sound at the receiving end of the venue. It also connects directly, as does the stage, to the ancillary accommodation, including the bar stores, green room and other staff accommodation which are distinct from the publicly accessible southern side of the venue.

The large events space is the single most demanding element of the mechanical and electrical brief in terms of service requirement. As such, the siting of the plant on the same floor as the events space minimises service runs and logically informs the functional layout of this level.