The Market Place Theatre and Arts Centre

Glenn Howells Architects, Armagh, 1999


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A theatre and arts centre which has the heroic qualities of great civic architecture, and knits together the urban fabric of Armagh 

Christopher Hill (website)     Download Original

  • A theatre and arts centre which has the heroic qualities of great civic architecture, and knits together the urban fabric of Armagh    
  • The view from Market Square    
  • The double-height entrance canopy reinforces the heroic civic scale     
  • The centre is a highly legible building – foyer spaces at all levels are linked by a central stair.  The walls are  ‘washed’ with natural light    
  • Will the pristine interiors survive the advent of clutter?    
  • The bar area     
  • American oak adds a richness to the auditorium, a contrast to the black tweed seating upholstery    
  • Site plan    
  • Elevation    
  • Level three plan    
  • Level four plan    
  • Roof detail    

A 400-seat theatre auditorium, 150-seat studio theatre, and arts centre with gallery exhibition space, workshops, meeting room, café-bar and restaurant

The Armagh Theatre and Arts Centre scheme is arranged as a series of inward looking buildings constructed from a luminous, specially fabricated cast stone, reflecting the characteristic Armagh limestone.

The structural design of the new theatre and arts centre involved a consideration for the steeply sloping site of the city centre, the proximity of the existing Film House and St Patrick’s Trian car park, and the use of Termodeck slab construction details to reduce energy costs.

Access to the art gallery is via a transitional ‘sub-space’, itself side-lit by translucent glazing, a device which is successfully reiterated throughout the project. The double height gallery reads as a perfect cube with a lowered central ceiling and associated perimeter roof glazing which effectively washes the walls with light.

While the gallery, theatre and studios are necessarily inward-looking, the interface of concourse, foyers and bars are intended to demonstrate a correspondence with Market Square and the city beyond.

The concourse’s linear form is enhanced by a central ‘running’ stair linking all levels and their associated foyer spaces.


  • Begun: Jun 1998
  • Completed: Aug 1999
  • Floor area: 4,020m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £6.3M
  • Tender date: Feb 1998
  • Procurement: JCT 80 with Contractor’s Design Portion, Local Authorities Edition 1980
  • Address: Market Street, Armagh, BT61 7BW, United Kingdom