Demountable auditorium building system


Agora demountable auditorium system launched by architects Studio Andrew Todd and carpenters CBS-Lifteam

March 4th 2020




The system proposes a flexible, demountable, thermally and acoustically insulated building shell which can be erected in less than a week, for a procurement, erecting / dismantling cost of less than 1 million euros for 500 seats.

It is appropriate for use as a lecture theatre, conference hall, concert hall, theatre, cinema and sports arena. It is inherently adaptable to local context, need and conditions.

Available also on a rental basis, it is intended for use in humanitarian crises, areas lacking arts infrastructure, and for institutions needing to shut down for renovation / rebuild, as well for as festivals with climate and acoustic constraints. It is appropriate for use as a lecture theatre, conference hall, concert hall, theatre, cinema and sports arena. It is inherently adaptable to local context, need and conditions.


Studio Andrew Todd -winners of the WAN Awards 2018 prize for best wooden building in the world- and the CBS-Lifteam group -builders of France’s highest timber office tower- have teamed up to develop and propose an engineered, costed system aimed at making permanent building-standard infrastructure for conferences, the performing arts and sport available as a biosourced, fast-build, flexible and low-cost system.

Identifying a market need for thermally and acoustically insulated temporary buildings, the two companies -sector leaders in wood building and the performing arts for twenty years- have combined their know-how to propose a system which has comparable build times to tented infrastructure, whilst allowing year-round, low-energy use in contexts where amplified noise might not be allowed, or where exterior background noise limits possible uses, to the exclusion of speech, lightly-amplified music, etc

The system is inherently scalable for variable technical conditions (loadings, access, etc.), can be extended to include front of house and backstage infrastructure, and proposes a flexible approach to building environmental systems according to duration of use and climate conditions.

In a 400-seat version with a 14 by 8 metre stage, the building can be procured, erected and dismantled for less than 1 million euros (depending on site constraints and detailed brief). It can be installed in less than a week.

The Agora Demountable Auditorium System draws on Studio Andrew Todd’s experience of the arts sector. Practice director Andrew Todd says:

« As a beginner architect working with great directors like Peter Brook, I learned that there is a need for responsive live arts architecture which can propose different formats without relying on expensive mechanical technology. ‘Found space’ warehouses and factories can provide an answer, but they are limited: you need silence and thermal comfort too, which they often do not provide. Since our practice decided to concentrate on biosourced materials, we have realised that wood offers many advantages in this respect, being precise, robust, warm and easy to work. We believe that this project -through its speed and low cost- can bring the live arts to areas where they were previously inaccessible, and can allow continuity for companies needing to close down for renovation and rebuild. The system -whilst assuring basic conditions of solidity and insulation- allows for a high degree of customisation and adaptability to different contexts and needs. »

CBS-Lifteam are widely recognised as industry-leading innovators in wood construction, especially for large-scale demountable structures. Group President Jean-Luc Sandoz says :

« The Agora System - based on several patented modular elements we have developed and proven in use- has the ambition to show that wood is THE material for our age of crisis. Apart from its inherent carbon capturing properties, when designed and used as we propose, it optimises transport and storage volumes, and allows for robust buildings which answer a precise need. Building badly and for the wrong reasons is perhaps the single worst thing we can do for the planet; we intend the opposite. We have combined large-scale engineered wood with smaller solid elements, meaning that we can address differently-scaled economic actors, and can propose to licence and reproduce the system unconstrained by the scale of local industry. Wood -when used as we propose here- is both ecologically and socially beneficial, providing work locally and bringing people together for live events without waiting for four years and without committing the resources of a permanent building. »

The Agora Demountable Auditorium System is IP protected overall and by components, is designed and costed in detail, and can be delivered in a matter of months from initial order. As a system rather than an object, its elements can be stored as compact volumes, and recombined to different geometries using very limited adaptive elements. It proposes spans of 22 metres and above.

For more information, please contact: agora@studioandrewtodd.com or agora@cbs-cbt.com

Link : http://www.studioandrewtodd.com/#/projects/59/