KOKO Camden, London
Archer Humphryes have successfully obtained Planning and Listed Building consents for Koko in Camden, which has hosted performances by Prince, Kanye West, Madonna, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay, becoming the first major UK concert venue to provide access from rooms in an adjacent hotel.
Vevil International has already put significant investment into the building through repair and maintenance in order to rejuvenate the site. After 13 years of operation as KOKO, the venue is in need of refurbishment and the owners of KOKO and the buildings are working together to deliver a scheme that will ensure its long-term future as a live music venue and cultural hub. The plans include restoration of the Grade II listed venue as well as adjoining buildings at 65 Bayham Place, 1 Bayham Street and the Hope & Anchor pub. The landlord, Vevil International, proposes a mix of uses that will complement each other to create an integrated entertainment venue and open up historic and hidden spaces for the public, such as the iconic copper dome and original fly tower.
Given the one-of-a-kind setting , Archer Humphryes proposal to re-use an existing 19th century entertainment, where Charlie Chaplin once performed has much in common with other intelligent, recent conservation projects they have undertaken. The brilliance of the KOKO project is that it sets itself apart by also maintaining the actual original use of the building, as an entertainment venue, as well as retaining and enhancing the physical fabric of the structure.
This will provide a reinvigorated ‘public house’ the Hope and Anchor. The proposed 32 bedroom hotel. A dome which will provide a new bar and function room available to both KOKO, the public and hotel guests alike, the hotel’s proposed roof top lobby which sits directly above the KOKO auditorium in a space created between the existing dome and the flytower. A third unique space contributing to the development is the interior is the flytower. This is given over to a single giant signature suite for stars, visiting artists or alternatively can be booked out for events and private functions. The suite is spread over two floors and includes a recording studio and support kitchen pantry. The suites upper level will provide guests with the greatest impact when viewed from below seeing the original sceneographic lattice, open queen post truss roof structure and the theatre’s gigantic flywheel, which are all to be retained and put on show to visiting guests. The lower space in the suite provides access to the artists balcony and stage below but is also visually linked to the auditorium via 3no. openings formed in the wall above the proscenium arch that provide view across the circle and auditorium below.