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Lerwick Cinema & Music Venue : The Mareel

The Mareel : New Arts Building for Shetland Council, Scotland, UK

13 Jun 2013

The Mareel – Lerwick Cinema

Mareel, Lerwick

RIBA Awards 2013 : RIBA National Award Winner

Gareth Hoskins Architects Ltd (Executive Architect PJP Architects, Lerwick)

Lerwick Venue - The Mareel, Shetland Cinema
photograph © Phatsheep Photography

“Set on an historic waterfront site, this is an important cultural facility. This building embraces theatre, cinema and performance, reflecting and encouraging creativity.”

RIAS Awards shortlisted building, 25 Mar 2013

The Client, Shetland Arts has recently agreed a contract figure with local Contractor DITT, and the project is due to start on site within the next couple of months.

Director, Gary Johnson of Gareth Hoskins Architects said:

“Shetland is a unique place and it has been a real delight to work on such an important project and even more satisfying to know that it will be built by a local contractor. Projects of this nature are complex and challenging; they require a significant contribution and commitment from many people. We now have a positive way forward which is testament to the continued dedication of all those involved.

Mareel, Lerwick, Shetland
Mareel Lerwick
photograph © Phatsheep Photography

I have no doubt that when complete, Mareel will be a striking addition to Lerwick’s waterfront and provide a wonderful range of purpose built facilities that will contribute to and enhance Shetland’s cultural reputation and musical heritage for many generations to come. It is a project with which we are all very proud to be involved”.

Mareel is Shetland’s proposed Music & Cinema Venue, due to open in 2010. This multi purpose music, cinema, arts and education space will include a performance auditorium, cinema, recording studio, rehearsal rooms, multi media production suite, lecture theatre, education facilities and a cafe bar.

Main auditorium
The main auditorium will have a capacity of around 700 standing without the stage extended, 600 standing with the stage and a seated capacity of around 250. There’s also a balcony with space for a further 85 people. This flexibility will make it ideal for a range of performances including bands, DJs, dance and drama. A powerful PA and comprehensive lighting rig will be built in and the auiditorium’s acoustics have been a prime design consideration. Note that anyone can hire the hall; it’s not just for arty types!

The cinema will have a seated capacity of around 160 with space for wheelchairs, and will feature digital projectors and surround sound. The cinema will also act as a multi media performance area.

Recording studio
The much needed recording studio will include live rooms suitable for recording a variety of groups and bands, and a control room kitted out with the latest digital recording equipment.

Rehearsal areas
Mareel will have areas for a range of rehearsal uses including bands, DJs and drama groups. The sprung floors will make it suitable for dance groups too.

Multi media production suite
A well specified multi media production suite will be provided for film, TV, web design, animation, digital arts and music production.

Mareel Lerwick
image from architects

Education facilities
Mareel has been designed with education in mind: the cinema can be used as a lecture theatre, the recording studio has a large control room to accommodate music technology students, the PA and lighting rig can be used to train event production students in situ, the multi media suite is suitable for training and there is a dedicated 30 seat teaching room/ 2nd cinema screen. Mareel will be one of the few facilities in the UK to offer ‘on the job’ training in a working venue!

Cafe bar
The split level cafe bar will offer a range of food and drink, with free Internet access and Wi Fi. Just the job for recharging your batteries and nights on the razz. A second floor development will incorporate designated education spaces and possibly small start-up units for creative industries.


Shetland arts venue – The Mareel – by Gareth Hoskins Architects receives £2.1m from SAC Capital Lottery Fund in Apr 2008, kickstarting the project 2 years after the competition win

Hoskins Wins New Cinema & Music Venue in Lerwick, Shetland

Client: Shetland Island Council
Total Budget: £7.1 million
Internal Floor Area: 2100m²

The Mareel venue
image from architects

The Mareel venue facilities:-
300 seat multi-use auditorium + 160 seat cinema + 120 seat cinema
Café bar
Recording Studio, Rehearsal Facilities
Education Rooms, Media Spaces, Support Facilities, Public Facilities

The new Cinema and Music Venue, in Lerwick will be situated on a prominent waterfront site adjacent to the historic Hays Dock area.

The project team consists of Gareth Hoskins Architects collaborating with Peter Johnson Partnership, Lerwick based architectural practice that will bring extensive local knowledge and understand the challenges of building on the island. Mechanical and Electrical Engineers – Harley Haddow. Structural Engineers – Elliott & Co. Acoustic Engineers – Arup Acoustics.

Lerwick Cinema & Music Venue, Shetland – Building information from Gareth Hoskins Architects 120706

Gareth Hoskins Architects

Location: Lerwick, Shetland Isles, northern Scotland

Architecture in Scotland

Contemporary Scottish Architecture

Scottish Architecture Designs – chronological list

Shetland Buildings

Shetland School Building – Mid Yell School also by Gareth Hoskins Architects with Peter Johnson Partnership

Concert Venue Architecture

Shetland Museum

Old Scatness Visitor Centre

Building in northern Scotland by Gareth Hoskins Architects

Culloden Battlefield Centre

Key Links

Concert Venue Designs

Scottish Architecture

Scottish Architect

Buildings / photos for the Mareel Shetland Music Venue Architecture page welcome

Website: https://www.shetlandarts.org/venues/mareel