Brighton Dome

Brighton’s Grade I-listed Corn Exchange and Grade II-listed Studio Theatre have been refurbished for a 21st-century audience, to provide a dynamic cultural venue for the city and the region.

Several individuals standing in a spacious room with wooden floors

Key information


Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios


Brighton and Hove City Council



Year of Completion




The project makes major technical and operational improvements to the venues, restoring and upgrading four existing buildings: the Corn Exchange, Studio Theatre, 29 New Road and the Church Street entrance, while a new link building captures a former courtyard space, providing a foyer and public and support facilities.

Essential conservation work to the listed buildings peels back the layers to restore hidden spaces and reveal them to the public. The brand-new foyer, top lit bar and gallery space, and a restaurant that opens out onto New Road improve the visitor experience and new toilets and circulation provide better facilities and accessibility for visitors, performers and artists. 

Brighton Dome’s remodelled buildings will give it much-needed flexibility in terms of layout, seating, infrastructure and accessibility – allowing a wider range of artists and performers to come to Brighton. A new creative space called Anita's Room will also be available for artists and community groups to use for workshops, meetings and rehearsals.

Carefully integrated services

We were appointed to design building services to facilitate new performance spacing for Brighton Dome. The design incorporates a mixture of new and retrofitted systems to provide comfortable environments for the performance spaces. 

The plant's energy efficiency was at the forefront of the design process, working with an existing fabric, including the Grade I-listed corn exchange. 

Heat recovery and mixing boxes were installed in the air handling units to reduce the heating or cooling required, depending on the time of year. A central energy centre was kept online during the construction phase to maintain the operation of the existing theatre and museum that shared the same services. 

Dramatic daylighting throughout the new foyer reduces the need for any artificial lighting, and natural ventilation keeps energy use to a minimum. We have carefully integrated building services into the historic fabric to complement the architecture of the new foyer.

A group of people walking through a spacious building with transparent glass walls

© Richard Chivers

Lighting design

As part of the renovations, the timber soffit and recreated timber panelling have been celebrated with warm grazing light. New foyer and bar spaces have been created by infilling a courtyard, and these spaces have been dramatically lit, showcasing the once external brickwork of the historical buildings. 

Roof lighting as part of this new insertion brings natural light to the heart of the building, and the giant windows to the west of the corn exchange were restored to provide borrowed light to the theatre itself, recreating the ambience of the original 1806 riding house. Externally, existing historical street lights adjacent to Pavilion Gardens have been refurbished and installed with new light sources. New functional and discrete lighting has been provided to light the external spaces around the building.

An engineer in a hard hat and high-vis vest looks up towards the ceiling of brighten dome

On site in 2018

“Working on theatres is always a challenge, add on the fact we were working with a Grade I and a Grade II-listed building makes it a really interesting project. An existing energy centre which had to stay operational added to the technical and operational challenge. Using a helicopter to get some dry air coolers on the roof topped off a very unique project!”

Senior Engineer & Passivhaus Designer