Monday, 27 February 2012

Sunday Times reports on the 'real cinema' movement

An article in yesterday's Sunday Times "Culture" magazine reported on the 'real cinema' movement, using the analogy of the 'real ale' campaign.  They noted that rather like those who "turned against the chemical horrors of 'keg' in the 1970's", there is an increasing "demand for real local cinemas, and that people really do want to go out for their films, but preferably not to an out-of-town multiplex".  The article explains how the smaller independent cinemas provide an alternative to the "cold alienation of the multiplex" by using "town-centre sites and an 'event' style, including proper restaurants and bars".

Amongst the example cinemas cited are three designed by Burrell Foley Fischer, Broadway, in Nottingham, the Kino, in Hawkhurst, Kent, and Cinema City, in Norwich. BFF has specialist knowledge of the film sector, underpinned by 30 years experience working for independent cinema operators, regional film theaters and community arts cinemas. 

One of the screens at Broadway, featuring sofa style seating
Broadway was a phased development around a client in occupation of a building that started life as a Methodist Chapel and was converted into an Educational Co-operative Building in the 1950s.   Facilities provided in early phases of development include a new cinema for film exhibition and conferences, a refurbished 1950s auditorium for film exhibition, edit suites for film and video production and training, and broadcast-standard studio, a café bar, front-of-house accommodation, administrative offices for Broadway and like-minded organisations, educational facilities, seminar rooms, and creative media start-up units.

The Broadway bar
The final phase of the centre’s development provided two new screens and a multi-media lab that allows Broadway to exploit the potential of digital media.  A glazed elevation opens up the frontage to communicate more effectively Broadway’s engagement with film and media and provides improved foyer, social and conferencing spaces.  The project was awarded the Lord Mayor of Nottingham’s Award for the best adaptation of an existing building 1997 and an Adapt Award 1998.

The entrance to the cafe bar 

BFF 30th Anniversary - St Georges Estate

Burrell Foley Fischer LLP was selected by the Estate Steering Group (working with EastendHomes) to develop a masterplan and design proposals to RIBA Stage C for St George’s Estate in Shadwell, London. 

200 new flats in ten, 9 storey, new infill sites
The brief from EastendHomes called for extensive consultation with the Estate’s residents, a third of whom are leaseholders within a significant Bengali community, and the preparation of a masterplanning report.  Burrell Foley Fischer LLP’s design proposals were included in the offer document on which Council tenants based their ‘yes’ vote to transfer the management of the estate from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to EastendHomes.

The new infill sites currently under construction
St George’s Estate has 500 residential units which are to be brought into line with the standards set out in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Decent Homes policy. Proposals explored how to make the best use of available land to improve the organisation of public and private space.  The homes are to be set in surroundings that people value and enjoy, but that also offer a long-term sustainable future for St George’s.  The project is currently on site.
The first new homes to be completed

Monday, 20 February 2012

BFF 30th Anniversary - Boiler House, Royal Holloway

The original complex of Royal Holloway, part of the University of London, is a grand 19th Century red brick building dressed in stone by WH Crossland.  The site also includes another building by Crossland, a boilerhouse, which was until 1968 used to provide the university’s heat and power.

The Royal Holloway drama department took over the building and decided to turn it into a centre for experimental theatre.  Burrell Foley Fischer LLP won a competition to undertake the conversion.  The brief was not to create any sort of auditorium – the space was to be left bare so that it could be filled with the imaginations of the theatre directors.

The interior of the boilerhouse was acoustically insulated, weatherproofed and given a new sprung floor, but otherwise the “found space” aesthetic is retained and not smartened up.  

Thursday, 16 February 2012

New Sinuous Bridge for The Royal Academy of Engineering craned into position

The new stainless steel entrance bridge has been craned onto the forecourt of No.3 Carlton House Terrace.  The new bridge, manufactured by Babcock International Group PLC, will provide a single accessible approach to the refurbished headquarters of the Royal Academy of Engineering. 

The bridge will lead visitors into the Royal Academy of Engineering, across a landscaped garden inspired by the designs of Decimus Burton (1800-1881), one of the original architects of Carlton House Terrace.

Visualisation of the completed bridge

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Acting dynasty to appear at The Royal Hall, Harrogate

It was reported in Sunday's Observer that members of the Fox family, one of Britain's most glamourous theatrical dynasties, are to appear on stage together for the first time to pay tribute to the legacy of their illustrious forebear, engineer, Samson Fox.  Edward Fox and his wife, actress Joanna David, have decided to lead members of the family in May in a one-off stage show at the Royal Hall, in Harrogate, the grand venue commissioned and paid for by his ancestor.

The Royal Hall, created for Samson Fox by renowned theatrical designer Frank Matcham and his architect Robert Beale, was completed in 1903.  It was conceived as a cure hall, or Kursall, in the tradition of European spa towns.  The hall fell in to disrepair but was restored four years ago after a campaign, supported by Edward Fox.

Burrell Foley Fischer led the design team for this sensitive conservation and restoration project by focussing on the authenticity of historic details through careful research.  It was recognised with a 2008 BCI Award: Conservation- Highly Commended and a 2009 RICS Pro-Yorkshire Award: Conservation and Overall Best Project.

Read the full Observer article on the show

Visit the Royal Hall Website for details of the event

Monday, 13 February 2012

BFF 30th Anniversary - Kino Cinema

Kino Hawkhurst was the first all digital screen in the UK. The design addresses the challenge of providing a stylish and comfortable environment for enjoying film within the constraints of a listed church hall and a phenomenology tight budget.  The auditorium is an insertion within the church hall and was detailed to address the acoustic and technical requirements of a cinema without damage to the original fabric of the building.  If the cinema ceased to operate within the hall, it could be stripped out to reveal the original painted timber boarded ceiling and walls, elaborately detailed window frames and reveals and timber trusses.

The technical requirements of the brief to accommodate acoustic absorption, house and emergency lighting and a surround sound installation have been used to create a striking interior based on an interpretation of a Paul Klee painting.  While evoking the identity of an art house the cinema has proved popular with cinema goers of all ages including teenage audiences.  A café bar and landscaped courtyard has also been provided.  The design of front of house areas, while respecting the character of the building carries through the colour palette used in the auditorium.  The gridded design for the cinema has been adopted as the Kino logo.

Victoria Hall, Hawkhurst (David Anstiss) / CC BY-SA 2.0
Visit the Kino Cinema Website

Monday, 6 February 2012

BFF 30th Anniversary - Hampstead School

An original feasibility study and development plan was undertaken by BFF in 1996 to establish a long-term strategy for the development of the School’s facilities.  The scope of the study included the acquisition of Technology College Status; a new library; IT and private study facilities; new teaching spaces, including classrooms, science labs and technology workshops; a new Sixth-Form Centre; improved sports, drama and performance facilities; improved access, circulation and playground facilities; and the introduction of full disabled access throughout the school.

Roof extension to form Sixth-Form Centre
In 1998, following the acquisition of Technology College Status, a new IT classroom was constructed and informal IT access within the existing school library on a new mezzanine level was introduced.  In early 2003 BFF was commissioned to undertake the detailed design of the first phase of the long-term development plan (the new Sixth-Form Centre) and to obtain planning permission for this and the second phase, the creation of a new school entrance, reception and administration facilities.

New build extension including professional catering kitchen teaching facilities
Work on the third phase of the project, the development of the existing Victorian building which houses the Technology Block, was completed in 2007 in a two-storey extension to the main building providing new workshops for vehicle maintenance, painting and decorating, etc.  The most recent phase is a new build extension which includes specialist ICT and general purpose classrooms, and a professional catering kitchen teaching space.

Panorama of the school grounds
Owing to the nature of the project, all of the works have been planned and sequenced in order to minimise disruption to teaching and to avoid the need to decant pupils to temporary classrooms or alternative sites.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

BFF appointed to design Office Fit-out for Charitable Trust

We have been commissioned by a major Charitable Trust to design the fit-out for their new offices.  The offices are in The Peak building, close to Victoria Station in Central London and our Clients are taking an entire floor of 1,000 sq m (10,800 sq ft).  BFF are undertaking space-planning, design of the reception and partitioning to form meeting rooms and private offices and advising on selection of furniture.

Empty shell at The Peak
BFF have previously designed workspaces for a number of clients including, The Royal Society, The Academy of Medical Sciences, The Royal Academy of Engineering and The Institute for Government.

Offices at the Academy of Medical Sciences