Depot recognised at Sussex Heritage Awards

We are delighted that the Depot Lewes has been recognised at the Sussex Heritage Awards in two categories.

The community cinema, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer and opened in May this year, was given a Public and Community award. The venue has three screens housed within the envelope of the former Harveys Brewery Depot building, and the box office, cafe bar, restaurant and film education room within a new glazed extension.

In addition, a Building Craft Award was given to the The Flintman Company for their work on the building. A combination of random knapped flint with knapped flint quoins and coursed knapped flint, for the walls and roof to the education room, and to the entrance aedicule forms an important part of the contextual design for the venue, rooting it through craft traditions, in its locality.

The Design Officer at the South Downs National Park Authority described it “as an exemplar to illustrate how good design can rise to the challenge of a National Park context”.

The judges commented, "The Depot Cinema has re-used a redundant warehouse and extended it to create a new townscape and community amenity performing functions far beyond the cinematic experience.  The financial commitment was high and has enabled a completed project of exceptional attention to detail in every respect. The architect and the Depot team are responsible for a stunning new gateway into Lewes."

Read more about the Depot here.

John Wildsmith wins BFF-sponsored Project Illustration Prize

Our congratulations to John Wildsmith on being selected as the winner of the annual Burrell Foley Fischer Project Illustration Prize, awarded to the best individual drawing at the University of Westminster’s end-of-year student exhibition, OPEN 2017.

The exhibition includes students’ work from first year to graduation, including architecture drawings, models and fabrications, ranging from the handmade to virtual realities, and from small-scale to full-size. John Burrell, who judged the award, commented, “I spent a long time looking at lots of excellent work on display and the longer I looked the more difficult it became to decide on a winner. I was very impressed by the standard of work and there were many projects that were worthy of a prize but John Wildsmith’s drawings, 'Resurrection from the Rubble: Exploring & renewing the edge condition of Gaza' wins the award."

'Resurrection from the Rubble: Exploring & renewing the edge condition of Gaza' by John Wildsmith

'Resurrection from the Rubble: Exploring & renewing the edge condition of Gaza' by John Wildsmith

The exhibition remains open until Sunday 2 July and details can be found on the University’s website

Ibrahim Buhari stands for RIBA Council

We are delighted that Ibrahim Buhari, one of our architects, is standing for a National seat on the RIBA Council.  

His aims in standing are: 

  • to look at the architectural education system in the UK and how students are supported to navigate their way to qualifying;  
  • to support and champion diversity within architectural education and the profession; and 
  • to encourage younger architects to engage with and become members of the RIBA (the current average age of RIBA members is 57!).  

Ibrahim has worked for BFF for the last four years and was an integral part of the team on the recently completed Depot cinema in Lewes, which has been widely acclaimed by cinemagoers and local residents.

Ibrahim, second from left, at the opening of the Depot with our client and other members of the BFF design team

Ibrahim, second from left, at the opening of the Depot with our client and other members of the BFF design team

Currently only 15% of RIBA members vote in the Council Elections and Ibrahim is campaigning with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to increase this to 25% or more, as part of the RIBA+25 initiative marking the 25th anniversary of Stephen’s murder.

We are delighted to support Ibrahim in his bid for a seat on the National Council and would encourage all RIBA Members to consider voting for him.  

Application for Planning Permission submitted for new Boarding House and Hub Building for Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

BFF have submitted a Planning Application and Listed Building Consent for a new Boarding House and Hub building at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.

We have worked with the School on their Masterplan since 2005, with the first phase being new award winning Dance Studios, within the historic context of Registered Parks and Gardens and Grade II* Listed Buildings and situated in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Hertfordshire Countryside.

The Masterplan

The Masterplan

The current application is for the next two Phases. These are a new Boarding House, with accommodation for 70 pupils, and a new building, providing a sixth-form centre, art building and staff facilities, designed to create a new Hub at the heart of the school.

Boarding House

Boarding House

Hub Building

Hub Building

A visualisation of the proposed new facilities has been commissioned by the School.

Depot Cinema, Lewes gets positive reaction on social media

BFF’s latest cinema, The Depot Lewes, opened over the bank holiday weekend and has been positively received on social media.  A section of the comments follow, together with photographs of the venue taken by one of our architects, Ming Cheng.

“Wow, really, just wow! So thrilled to have this in Lewes!” 

“The best cinema experience I've ever had! The ambience upon entry sets you up for something different. The seats are so comfy I don't fidget at all! And the surround sound is phenomenal. My family and I shall be frequent visitors, especially at such a great rate on film, food and drinks. Superb!”

“Enjoyed our first visit to our new local cinema yesterday - comfortable seats and excellent sound system certainly enhanced the experience. The after-screening drink in exterior seating area gave us a chance to appreciate how attractive the whole development is: contemporary, stylish and well laid out. Looking forward to this becoming a regular haunt!” 

“Welcoming, stylish venue next to railway station. Warm, welcoming and helpful staff make for a relaxed and engaging cinema and entertainment experience. Excellent selection of films on offer, personally selected for quality and range of appeal to all sectors of community. Screen studios have state-of-art technology and generous, comfortable seats and screen layout while set into this charismatic traditional, yet with a modern twist, warehouse setting that makes your visit a pleasure."

“The Depot is wonderful – a haven of art, comfy seats and environmental principles”

“Went today first time, saw 'Your Name' Anime film. Was seriously impressed with everything! The staff are very helpful, the building itself is a masterpiece and the cinema screen, size, and seating is comfortable and just superb! Son and I loved it, this is fab for Lewes”

“Absolutely fantastic. Truly gorgeous building and amazing facilities. What a privileged little Town we are. Huge thanks to all involved.” 

The full comments and others can be found at

Depot Cinema in Lewes Officially Opened by Martin Freeman

The Depot Cinema in Lewes, designed by BFF, was yesterday officially opened by Martin Freeman, star of the Hobbit and Sherlock.

Martin Freeman greets fans at Depot opening

Martin Freeman greets fans at Depot opening

Speaking to the local newspaper, The Argus, he said that he was ‘very impressed’ with the Depot’s design and luxurious screens. He said “I think it is important to support cinema.  Independent cinema is the lifeblood of the genre. And its important to me because I do a lot of independent movies as well as some big ones. I’m about to go to New York this summer and do an independent movie and I do a lot of those kind of things, thank God, so if I can support cultural and artistic venues then I will”.

Members of the BFF team with our client

Members of the BFF team with our client

Photographs by Carlotta Luke, who documented the build of the project.

Coming Soon: The Depot Cinema, Lewes

We were pleased to join Lewes Community Screen for a preview of their new cinema.  The Depot will open to the general public on Saturday, May 27 with a three-day festival of 25 films including silent films and classics, new movies such as “Sense of an Ending” and “Their Finest” and critically acclaimed mainstream movies such as "Logan” and “Beauty and the Beast”.  BFF's design has created three-screens in the envelope of the former Harveys Brewery Depot building, with a new glazed extension housing the box office, cafe bar, restaurant and film education room. 

Lewes Depot Cinema - 170517-3.jpg

Newlyn Filmhouse Awarded "Best Inclusive Building"

We are pleased to announce that Newlyn Filmhouse was awarded “Best Inclusive Building” at the South West LABC (Local Authority Building Control) Awards.  

The Newlyn Filmhouse provides a new two-screen cultural cinema with a café bar in a former fish store on the Coombe in Newlyn, Cornwall.  Burrell Foley Fischer worked closely with the owners to find a suitable site in the area for their vision.  Externally the conversion makes use of existing large shuttered openings at ground and first floor level and retains the character and appearance of the building as a former light industrial building. 

This award recognises BFFs long-standing commitment to inclusive design.  Previous BFF cinemas that have won awards include Broadway, Nottingham’s Media Centre, with was given an Adapt award in 1998 and Norwich Cinema City which won the East of England LABC Award in 2008 for “Best Project for Access and Compliance with Disability Regulations” and went on to win the National award for that year.

Read more about Newlyn Filmhouse and Norwich Cinema City on our project pages.

Designs for redevelopment of Grade 1 Listed York Guildhall revealed

Burrell Foley Fischer have unveiled designs for the refurbishment and remodelling of the historic complex of buildings in central York centred on the Grade I listed Guildhall.

The vision for the project is to provide a world class venue, supporting and nurturing the expansion of York’s vibrant creative businesses; combining events and exhibition space with state of the art collaboration and co-working facilities in the heart of a historic and creative city, securing a sustainable future for one of the city’s most iconic buildings. To deliver this vision the proposals have concentrated on enhancing the significance of the medieval Guildhall while revealing further the narrative of the buildings which have grown up around it over more than 500 years. The resulting scheme establishes the Guildhall's original role at the heart of the commercial life of the city, as the home base for a wide variety of firms.

By retaining the use of the Council Chamber and enhancing public access, direct links between the City’s governance, commerce, and culture are not just acknowledged, but remain intrinsically bound together, for the future benefit of the City in this most historic of locations.

The project will secure the future of the Guildhall complex, through the delivery of an economically viable and sustainable scheme. It will deliver a comprehensive (once in a 100 year) refurbishment of the complex together with new build interventions as necessary to re-purpose the complex for its new use, adopting best practice conservation principles in terms of the approach to enhancing and better revealing the significance of the heritage assets whilst incorporating the practicalities of modern servicing and functionality.

There is a core requirement for modern flexible office space and the associated provision of multipurpose space to suit a variety of potential uses as co-working/ conferencing/meeting and events and exhibition space. The Guildhall itself will be comprehensively refurbished to improve its usability; specifically including new heating and electrical services. The complex will also accommodate elements of commercial space to accommodate a restaurant and cafe bar.

The site contains a series of intimate, linked public spaces, connected by small “ginells” and the proposals include the continuation of this language, to create a new riverside courtyard / garden across two levels of river front terraces, while improving public access and the general quality of the public realm throughout the complex.

We have moved

Our London studio has moved to Unit 09, 14 Southgate Road, London, N1 3LY.  Our telephone number remains the same 020 7620 6114.


Cambridge Arts Theatre receives Commendation at Awards Ceremony

BFF's refurbishment and remodelling of the front of house areas of Cambridge Arts Theatre has been recognised with a Commendation in the Sustainability Category at the Cambridge Design and Construction Awards.

Located in the heart of the City, Cambridge Arts Theatre is one of the region’s liveliest and most exciting venues, hosting a varied programme of drama, dance, music, comedy and pantomime. Burrell Foley Fischer was selected to resolve and expand the foyer and front of house facilities. The completion of Phase 1 more than doubles the amount of foyer space while also providing three new spacious bars and a new box office at the St Edward’s Passage entrance. The opening up of the St Edward’s Passage foyers provides views both into and out of the building, transforming the interiors from predominantly internalised spaces into places with an outlook.

The Campaign to Save Norton Folgate

Burrell Foley Fischer have assisted the Spitalfields Trust with their campaign to save Norton Folgate. Proposals submitted by the developers, British Land, on a site owned by the City of London Corporation, involve the demolition of over 70% of this important Conservation Area on the edge of the City.  The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and one of the special 'Liberties' of London, which were areas of independent local administration.  BFF's illustrations reveal the extent of the demolition that would take place, were the proposals given planning permission, and the inappropriate scale of the proposed new build.

Norton Folgate as it is today

Norton Folgate as it is today

British Land want to remove over 70% of the fabric on their site in the Elder St Conservation Area

British Land want to remove over 70% of the fabric on their site in the Elder St Conservation Area

British Land want to increase the volume of the buildings on the site by more than 50%

British Land want to increase the volume of the buildings on the site by more than 50%

The BFF alternative plan establishes the quantum of new build and additions that are consistent with the character and specified limits to development in the Conservation Area.  It proposes a mixed use scheme that includes a high proportion of private and affordable housing as well as offices, retail, cultural and other uses.

BFF's proposals show the capacity for development on vacant sites and additions to existing buildings (existing buildings shown in beige and new development in green and pink)

BFF's proposals show the capacity for development on vacant sites and additions to existing buildings (existing buildings shown in beige and new development in green and pink)

A video tour of the area by Architectural Historian and Local Resident Dan Cruickshank can be seen on Youtube by clicking the link below:

Oz Seekers Breakfast Briefing on Digital Cinema

Stefanie Fischer recently hosted an Oz Seekers Breakfast briefing, at the invitation of John Sullivan (D-Cinex and Light Cinemas), on the opportunities and challenges presented by small digital cinemas.

Factors, key to sustainable cinema operation, that were discussed included creating a good and memorable cinema experience; reaching out to a wide cross section of the local audience across the age and social spectrum; appealing to 15-25 year olds whilst creating an environment older cinema goers feel comfortable in and creating a distinct identity that resonates with the locality, all in the interests of encouraging repeat visits.

Scala Cinema and Arts Centre, Prestatyn

Scala Cinema and Arts Centre, Prestatyn

Maths and Science Building at Kingham Hill School opens

The new Maths and Science Building, named the Veritas Building, for Kingham Hill School has opened.

Designed by Burrell Foley Fischer to preserve the coherence of the School’s architectural and aesthetic appeal, the exterior has been sensitively finished with a combination of Cotswold stone, timber, glass and zinc enabling it to blend seamlessly with its surroundings. The design of the building echoes the features of other properties on the site, uniting the different architectural styles to create a cohesive scheme across the estate.

The Veritas Building provides the School with six new classrooms, six state-of-the-art science laboratories, a seminar room, three science prep rooms together with office space for staff.

The two-storey building is designed around light-filled atria, reducing the need for extensive artificial lighting. The classrooms are large, bright spaces with generous windows offering glimpses of the world outside, and state-of-the-art technology to provide the very best learning experience for pupils. Each room includes the features required in a modern school, integrating interactive white boards and the use of projectors as part of the infrastructure.

The new laboratories are designed to the highest standards for schools, providing outstanding facilities for the school’s young scientists as they learn about the world around them.

Heritage Lottery Fund awards funding to Campbeltown Picture House

It has been announced today that the HLF have awarded £1,1m towards the refurbishment and remodelling of the Campbeltown Picturehouse.

One of the first purpose-built cinemas in Scotland, Campbeltown Picture House has provided the town with a centre of entertainment for the past 100years. From its origins in the silent movie days in 1913 through to the modern day and digital technologies the Picture House has provided an invaluable service to Campbeltown and Kintyre cinemagoers. As part of a three year project, its unique Glasgow School Art Nouveau design will be restored with new contemporary facilities added, including a second auditorium and a new café bar, so that it can operate as a sustainable community-based business.

A cultural hub for Kintyre, this much-loved building will then be able to screen films and live relayed performances of theatre, opera and music, and stage small scale drama, music and comedy.

Photo: Sarah MacDonald Photography

Photo: Sarah MacDonald Photography

Commenting on the awards announced, Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Heritage is an ordinary word for something that is quite extraordinary.  The strands that weave the rich tapestry of Scotland’s history are too numerable to define.  Literature, buildings, industry, popular culture and wildlife are all an essential part of where we come from.  HLF is delighted to bring Christmas cheer to these presents from our past so that they can be cared for, enjoyed, learned from and celebrated well into the future.”

Jane Mayo, Chairman of Campbeltown Community Business, the charity which owns The Picture House, added the following “Magical fairy dust will certainly be sprinkled on Our Picture House. Now we shall be able to recreate the 1930s unique interior with the fantastic wee houses restored to their original glory, and all allied to 21st century comfort which is expected in a state of the art cinema today. The restoration of this nationally important building will add to the other recent and ongoing improvements in Campbeltown.”