This is clip-on architecture: a kind of theatrical Archigram, a Fun Palace that got built. You have the impression that the whole thing could be taken apart and put back together in another place and for other purposes.
First take one temporary theatre now in its 38th year and therefore long past its sell-by date, double the footprint and add height to the auditorium, thus greatly improving its technical specification, and two studio theatres; then honestly express the additions as distinct elements using different cladding materials – steel mesh, customised concrete blocks and glass; allow this whole assemblage to muscle its way into a mish-mash of a street – yes this scheme engages with the city, but very much on its own terms – and you have a building well worthy of architecture’s premier prize.
The new Young Vic is the result of the passion of one man for the theatre. It is clever architecture without being shouty. It is the opposite of skin-deep object architecture, retaining the best elements of its temporary predecessor but adding all the things theatres need today to draw audiences away from their computers and TVs.