east dulwich picturehouse & cafe

Location: London
Client: Picturehouse Cinemas Ltd
Status: Completed 2015

Reuse of redundant buildings
The Picturehouse & Cafe is located in the heart of East Dulwich and occupies a former Victorian church and schoolhouse to create a three-screen 250-seat art house community cinema, with café/bar, restaurant, conservatory and garden.

"Converting a Victorian church and schoolhouse into a three-screen arts house cinema, this project has revealed the building’s spatial qualities and original features while giving new use to the abandoned structure."
NLA Commendation 2016

Working with the historic fabric
Our robust, yet sensitive transformation works intuitively to reveal and restore the building's 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.

Creating the unexpected
A dramatic, triple-height foyer was created by removal of part of the first floor near the street facade, 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.

Enhancing existing character
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.

More than a cinema
The resulting East Dulwich Picturehouse & Cafe has become a key cultural hub to the vibrant Lordship Lane for the local community

Photography
Andy Matthews

Publications
2015
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
 
Awards
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)
 
illustrative site plan
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