Client: Picturehouse Cinemas Ltd
Status: Completed 2015

East Dulwich Picturehouse & Cafe occupies a former Victorian church and schoolhouse and is a three screen (244 seat) art house community cinema, with café/bar, restaurant, conservatory and garden.

Our robust, yet sensitive transformation worked intuitively with the building’s historic fabric, as we strove to reveal and restore its remaining original features, materiality and character. The front of house spaces exploit the building’s most interesting aspects, such as the prominent arched windows in the façade, which directed the way we thought about the circulation.

A dramatic, triple-height foyer was created by removal of part of the first floor, which boasts a gallery space with additional seating and lobby access to screens 2 and 3. A simple contemporary conservatory side extension, opens out onto a courtyard garden at the rear.

To avoid creating generic black box screens, we worked hard to highlight features such as original roof trusses by developing a thin acoustic lining to the underside of the roof – which also met the strict planning conditions controlling noise breakout to the surrounding residential buildings in close proximity.

The resulting East Dulwich Picturehouse & Cafe, is more than a cinema, it is a cultural hub for the whole community. The project was named a Regional Finalist in the Civic Trust Awards 2016 and also helped earn Panter Hudspith the Architect of the Year Award (sports and leisure) in 2016.

Andy Matthews

BD Online - Panter Hudspith Architects completes cinema revamp
AJ Online - Panter Hudspith cuts ribbon on £1.2 million East Dulwich cinema
FX Magazine - Client file: Picturehouse Cinemas
2016 Civic Trust Regional Finalist London
2016 NLA Awards Conservation and Retrofit - Commended
2016 AJ Retrofit Awards Leisure - Shortlisted
2016 Architect of the Year Award - Winner (Sports and Leisure)
east dulwich picturehouse & cafe, london
reuse - leisure
the tiered seating of the cantilevered screen above is expressed in the foyer ceiling
the light remodel of the front elevation inserts a large sash window allowing views in
the original school staircase was gently sandblasted to reveal this textural brickwork
the former st thomas more hall before and during the development
cutting away the first floor structure creates a triple height cafe space
exposing the trusses within screen two connects the audience with the historic structure
first floor screen landing with the newly exposed brickwork and ornate church windows
cafe bar seating alcoves are created below suspended projection rooms
an unloved side yard becomes a useful cafe addition creating a conservatory and garden
time-lapse video of construction