Building Update: Winter bites the bricklayers’ cement

January 26, 2017

The first two days of this week were lost to frost. With daytime temperatures as low as -7oC, the water freezes as the cement is being mixed – even after attempts at heating the mixer – and thwarts the chemical reaction between cement, sand and water which is essential to the construction of a sound blockwork wall. And there is still much to build, including outer walls of the stage block and those of the subterranean labyrinth. However, with predictions of temperatures rising later this week, the brickies will be called back to resume their work. It will continue through the weekend so that the lost ground can be made up. We are entering the make-or-break period of this stage of the project. Martin Smith, the builder, has re-evaluated the timetable for work needed to allow performances to take place in June and it shows that we cannot afford to lose a single day.

West Horsley Place - Richard Lewisohn -

Meanwhile Wasfi, unfazed by on-site strains, has called on her creative juices and prepared full size drawings of a design for the balcony fronts. Although the fronts will not be in place for the forthcoming Festival, they are critical in locating both house and stage lighting and will, of course, contribute significantly to the character and feel of the auditorium and its sound quality. Here we are trying to satisfy the needs of the lighting designers by providing a wide choice of lighting positions and those of the acoustician by providing a solid, reflective and sound scattering surface, while, at the same time, avoiding projecting lighting bars and other performance paraphernalia cluttering the surfaces and interfering with the sense of the auditorium as a large, elegantly appointed, decorated room. And this, of course, includes the ceiling; which is another impending story…

David Lloyd Jones, 25 January 2017


From 20 June we had 353 days to build an opera house. Watch Jun – Dec in 7′. Jump in at 5’30” for the greatest excitement. Music by Anthony Bolton.


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