The Poetry Society's venue, café and administrative offices are in Betterton Street in the Covent Garden Conservation Area. The café and venue occupy ground floor and basement while the upper three floors house the society’s offices. The charity programmes literary events, readings, book signings and live ‘jams’, and runs prizes for new poetry including the Ted Hughes’ Award. We convinced the planners and Conservation Area Group to grant planning permission for a completely new shop window. Refurbishment updated the building to meet access and environmental legislation.
Our design captures a welcome, contemporary feel, whilst retaining the essential ‘shop-front’ character and ethos of the Society’s street presence. In a restricted site, we fitted the venue staircase and wheelchair lift into a narrow slot of space at the front - a wonderful opportunity to transform the experience of arrival into one also of dynamic re-orientation and encounter: here the work of the society is shown and events advertised through architectural layering of the café threshold.
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