Shakespeare’s New Place

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK

In this collaboration with artists, artisans and architects we reimagined the garden of Shakespeare’s house in Stratford-upon-Avon, creating a dynamic outdoor space to complement the exhibition gallery, and supplied structural engineering services for the design of an extension to the existing listed building.

Unlocking the full potential of this popular visitor attraction for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was achieved through a series of interventions, including renovation of the Grade I listed Nash’s House, construction of a timber-framed extension to improve visitor circulation and accessibility, and the transformation of the garden into a space which commemorates the importance of the site and allows the public to make a personal connection with Shakespeare.

Expedition worked with architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios to design the new addition to the existing house, introducing a lift to make the upper floor fully accessible for the first time, facilitating a logical flow of movement through the building and allowing the exhibition spaces to work successfully as a whole. A new terrace at first floor level created space for socialising and hosting functions.

Key to the successful delivery of the timber-framed extension was making best use of the restricted footprint that was available, and designing a structure that connects sensitively to the historic building. In collaboration with FCBS, we had to carefully negotiate the balance between the need for accessibility and the listed status of the host building, which also underwent renovation as part of the same project by FCBS and engineer Ramboll.

The redesign of the garden was achieved through a dynamic, creative process that brought together the late Expedition trustee Tim O’Brien, a renowned former British theatre designer responsible for designing 31 productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, with senior director Chris Wise. To achieve their vision, they conceived a series of arts pieces to be commissioned by SBT – including the dramatic centrepiece of a lifesize tree cast in bronze – and worked with the artists to bring them to life.

The re-imagined site gives an impression of the scale of New Place and its relationship to the surrounding buildings, and a mixture of materials was chosen to allude to the footprint left by Shakespeare’s family home. Visitors can follow in Shakespeare’s footsteps through a new entrance on the site of the original gatehouse to enjoy the contemporary landscape.

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It is a stunning site, day and night and we have already reached our year three target of 150,000 visitors in year one! Thank you for all your input.

Dr Diana Owen

Former chief executive, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Key People