Arup advises on the development of The New Theater Lucerne

22 June 2016

The city of Lucerne is seeking to expand its cultural capacity with a new theatre, as its historically significant major theatre has become too small, and too rigid, for current audiences and tastes. To support the development and site identification, one of the stakeholders for the new development, Stiftung Salle Modulable, has called in the support of Arup.

Lucerne is a town in central Switzerland. The city has a population of around 80,000 and a growing cultural aspiration. Since the 1980s the city has sought to balance established cultural activity with that of spontaneous alternative culture. One of the city’s major alternative cultural sites, the ‘Boa’ was closed by the municipality due to possible noise pollution, with a new site ‘planned’ for a less populace location. The city’s current establishment theatre, the 180 year old Lucerne Theater, is also becoming too small. The municipality has therefore sought to found a new location in the city that provides more space for established productions.

The New Theater Lucerne is the name of the new theatre for the city: two independent studies have suggested a location with the most potential: the lakeside immediately behind the KKL Luzern Inseli. The location synergies with a number of stakeholders, including the KKL Luzern, the City and State and the Stiftung Salle Modulable. The planning is currently for a large hall with 750 seats, a small stage with 200 seats and four studios for rehearsals, small performances or temporary wardrobes. In addition, a public foyer will contain a Café. The total cost of the new theatre stands at around 208 million Swiss francs (approx. €189 million), with an operating cost of around 31 million Swiss francs (approx. €28 million) a year.

New Theater Lucerne

One of the firms relied on for the development of the new theatre is Arup. The consultancy firm produced a “New Theatre Lucerne Strategic Planning and Feasibility Study” for Stiftung Salle Modulable. The study develops a vision, concept framework, and technical concept for the project, as well as examines the project’s feasibility with regards to site evaluation, construction cost modelling, operational requirements, and project planning recommendations for the venue.

The consultancy has sought, on behest of its commissioners, to create a malleable performance space to increase the creative form in which the established artistic community, in the areas of musical theatre, opera, dance, and drama, is able to express itself. The space contains flexible infrastructure, such as movable balconies, lifts, sophisticated overhead rigging systems, and immersive sound and video infrastructure.

Tateo Nakajima, Arup Principal and Project Director, remarks “By leveraging our global experience with a wide range of cultural and performance arts venues, we are able to bring to bear our understanding of not only the building process but also the experience from both the audience and artist perspective. As a client advisor, we are able to assist the clients to develop a project that brings stakeholders together and help them navigate the practical realities and risks of an artistic building project.”

Hubert Achermann, Chairman of Stiftung Salle Modulable, says “This study reflects Arup’s superb and in-depth experience, its highest professionalism and — as it seems to us, a key success factor — a very creative, constructive, and efficient co-operation between top specialists within the team involved in this exciting and challenging project.”


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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.