Eden Court Theatre, Inverness

This important Highland facility in Inverness originally designed by Law & Dunbar Naismith in 1976 next to the 1878 Bishop Eden's Palace has been substantially redeveloped to provide an additional theatre, two cinemas, two studios, changing and office accommodation. The new facilities wrap the building exploiting the existing foyer skirt of the 1976 theatre. The otherwise blank new facades are decorated in a serpentine variety of coloured and patterned materials surmounted by natural ventilation wind towers developed with artist Donald Urquhart.

The interior spaces of Eden Court are glued together by the re-use and adaptation of the 1970’s ‘beehive’ roofed foyer. Working with Graven Images, this has been transformed into a walk-around glazed conservatory to the park and new approach. Mary Bourne’s depiction of the Garden of Eden as a series of ordnance survey notations on the floor fuses with Kate Whiteford’s primitive tracings on the entrance approach to emphasise this new interior/exterior relationship.

The junction between the 1970’s building and the new facility takes the form of a complex steel and glass jigsaw piece atrium leading to the new EC2 theatre. This studio theatre designed together with Theatreplan is an intimate setting which complements the original main theatre and has a number of flexible stage and flat floor arrangements. A studio at first floor level opens out to a spectacular balcony overlooking the river whilst the upper level studio negotiates, with a large and contemporary oriel window, the bend in the street. Two subterranean cinemas burrow into the earth.

The link to the Bishop’s Palace is re-shaped by the extension of the glazed entrance link and the complete restoration of the Bishop’s Palace as meeting rooms and offices for the enhanced cultural complex. A new changing room block links the Bishop’s Palace, the main and new theatres.