ARCHITECT: Takero Shimazaki Architects + Unick Architects Ltd
CLIENT: Curzon Cinemas Ltd
AWARDS WON: riba LONDON award 2016
Taking on an icon is not an easy task but when client and architect understand each other, the job is less daunting. It is clear here that t-sa and the clients hit the ground running - with references to the work of Tarkovsky, Greenaway and Kubrick winning over the client at the interview stage.
The scheme is in many ways understated, particularly upstairs, particularly where it comes to the subtle extension of the ground floor entrance. Moving underground, however, is another matter. The sensitive use of materials and the sequence of spaces successfully evoke the feeling of entering another world as cinemagoers descend beneath the Brunswick Centre. Of particular note here, is the pink hue of the concrete staircase that remains enigmatic and never to be seen in full daylight where you would appreciate the full splendor of the tones. It is a clever touch, giving the visitor an experience all too often forgotten wherein we are left praising the shadows.
On reaching the lower level there are other cinematic touches that work just as well. As you reach the bottom of the first flight of stairs you seem to be lit by shafts of daylight. These are in fact holes cut in the rough concrete structure with pendant lights over giving the effect of sun streaming into the subterranean spaces.
The success of the project owes much to the holistic approach to the interiors. Eileen Gray furniture is used throughout giving an added touch of design excellence to the environment and working well with the ambience of the different spaces. There are thoughtful touches elsewhere including the re-appropriation of the iconic ‘Renoir’ sign in the rear of the largest screening room.
All in all, a very subtle and thoughtful scheme that has makes you think; just as all good cinema does.
CONTRACTOR: Phelan Construction Ltd
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS: Buro Happold
Project Management: Cube Management LLP
Lighting Design: Firefly Lighting Design
Acoustic Engineers: Cole Jarman
INTERNAL AREA: 1785 SQM
PHOTOGRAPHER/S: hélène binet & anton gorlenko