It's no timber skyscraper, but this striking new fly loft for London's Shaftesbury Theatre adds drama to city's evolving urban landscape. Designed by Bennetts Associates, the rusted steel box with a sawtooth top replaces the building's old wooden fly tower, a space used to store sets and props that couldn't accommodate the larger, more complicated pieces required by today's stage designers.
Fly lofts are a key architectural component of traditional theaters -- creating room above the stage for set pieces, curtains, and lights suspended on a counterweight pulley system. The new loft -- measuring more than 30 feet (10 meters) tall, and incorporating a new counterweight system -- can now accommodate more sophisticated sets.
The $7.1 million (£5 million) addition also includes new workspace for the theater's administrative and production offices.
Inside, theater-goers will notice few changes to the ornate, Renaissance-style building constructed in 1911 and designed by Bertie Crewe.
But outside, the bright orange rust of the weathered steel contrasts beautifully with the original structure's ornamented terra cotta. The patina of the steel feels more at home alongside the existing building's aged facade.