Depot is a winner in the Selwyn Goldsmith Awards for Universal Design

We are excited to have been informed that the Depot has been selected as one of just three winners in this year’s Selwyn Goldsmith Awards for Universal Design. The project was selected from 234 applications entered into the 2018 Civic Trust Awards and the presentation will take place at the Awards Ceremony at Old Trafford next March.

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The Depot is a new three-screen community cinema on the site of the modest but much loved existing warehouse of the old Harveys brewery depot in Lewes. The three screens have been discreetly inserted within the saved brick shell, with the major design move being to attach a new glazed extension with the depot structure fully visible as the historic backdrop to the new box office, café bar, restaurant. A Facebook user commented, First visit yesterday, knocks spots off of the commercial cinemas, architecture beautiful, seats very comfortable and screen better than I have seen before. This feels like an upmarket cinema not a community/charity. The place has a soul!

The Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Universal Design is given to projects which have demonstrated excellence in providing a scheme which is accessible for all users, from people with decreased mobility, to parents with small children, to people with sensory impairments and everything in-between. 

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The vision for the project was to provide welcoming and accessible, cultural and social facilities for residents of Lewes and the surrounding region, as well as for visitors, and to engage with audiences and users of the facilities across the age and social spectrum, and regardless of abilities. To this end, local access groups were actively engaged with the project from early design stages and through construction and provided guidance on often little understood issues, such as design for people with dementia, for whom there are special screenings. There are also parent and baby screenings, for which buggy storage is available.

The equipping of the cinema auditoria with digital projection and technology has provided a facility for audio description and subtitles, which can be delivered to personal smart phones. There is infrared within the cinema and induction loops at sales points.

Physical access to all facilities has been incorporated in the design from the point of arrival. There are two on-site disabled parking bays and ramped access to the main entrance from entrance gates on both Pinwell Road South and West. Contrasting paving along the edge of the wheelchair friendly resin bonded gravel paths and ramps, helps to guide blind and visually impaired visitors to the main entrance. There are automatic sliding doors to the main entrance. All sales points are designed to accommodate wheelchair users.

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Accessible toilets have been integrated with the toilets for the restaurant, and general visitor toilets.  Within the two main cinema auditoria a choice of wheelchair positions has been provided, which are not limited to the front rows, and are integrated with the main body of seating, enabling wheelchair users to sit next to able bodied companions. There is space for guide dogs.

Careful consideration was given in the interior decoration to providing the appropriate level of contrast between elements such as handrails and the surfaces they are against, and door leafs and door linings, to aid people with visual impairment. Braille signage is provided throughout.

The overall result provides an equally uplifting inclusive and enjoyable experience of the Depot for everyone who comes there.

Stefanie Fischer discusses the contribution made by independent cinemas to the night-time economy in town centres with RTPI Young Planners

Stefanie Fischer gave a talk at RTPI Young Planners' bi-annual meeting on the contribution made by independent cinema to the night-time economy, sustainable economic regeneration, improved trading for local businesses and the kickstarting of creative industry clusters.

Broadway Media Centre, Nottingham

Broadway Media Centre, Nottingham

She also discussed how independent cinemas can act as a driver for mixed use development and high street regeneration and provide natural security and improve public realm. Stefanie cited examples of how BFF projects, such as the Depot Lewes, Broadway Nottingham, the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre Prestatyn, Campbeltown Picturehouse and Newlyn Filmhouse, had led to these benefits.

Scala Cinema and Arts Centre, Prestatyn

Scala Cinema and Arts Centre, Prestatyn

Following their meeting, Luke Coffey MRTPI, RTPI Young Planner of the Year said:

“It’s clear proactive planning can play a key role in creating a vibrant, safe and diverse night time economy – not just in London but in cities and towns across the UK. The challenge for us, as young planners, is to put the preservation and enhancement of the cultural component of place at the heart of what we do to ensure that it is not an afterthought.”

Read more here.

Restoration of Birmingham Roundhouse featured in the Guardian

Our project to restore Birmingham Roundhouse has been featured in The Guardian.

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The 19th century canal-side stables and stores in the city centre are to be transformed into a hub from which to explore the city by foot, bike or boat. The project is a pioneering partnership between the Canal & River Trust and the National Trust, with vital funding from the National Lottery, to bring an important Birmingham landmark back to life through an innovative blend of heritage and enterprise. 

Read the coverage by The Guardian.

A first look inside the refurbished Campbeltown Picture House

The first images of the refurbishment and remodelling of Campbeltown Picture House, a Grade A cinema on the Kintyre Peninsula, have been featured by BBC News and The Scotsman. The unique interior has been refurbished to bring it up to the standards expected by a modern cinemagoing audience, whilst respecting the historic building in which it is housed. A new second screen has been added, together with expanded front-of-house facilities.

The picture shows Ellen Mainwood, the cinema’s new general manager, checking a light in the main auditorium

The picture shows Ellen Mainwood, the cinema’s new general manager, checking a light in the main auditorium

Depot wins RTPI South East Regional Award for Planning Excellence

We are delighted that Depot Lewes has been recognised with two awards by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) South East. The new cinema was presented with the Excellence in Planning for Heritage Award and the overall Regional Winner for 2017 at a ceremony in the Brighton Pavilion.

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The transformation of a former brewery in Lewes into a major arts venue - with a cinema, restaurant and education facilities known as ‘Depot, Lewes Community Screen’ is on the former Harvey’s Brewery depot, a prominent location close to Lewes railway station – it was crowned the overall winner at last night’s RTPI South East Awards for Planning Excellence.

The previously vacant site is in a prominent, sensitive location within Lewes Conservation Area and surrounded by numerous listed buildings, which has been sensitively redeveloped to provide a new community cinema with a café/bar, restaurant and film education and training facilities. The redevelopment – undertaken by Burrell Foley Fischer and the South Downs National Park Authority – also includes new green infrastructure including an orchard, wild flower garden and landscaping.

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Sue Percy MRTPI, Chair of the RTPI South East Judges Panel said: “Through good planning practice and early community engagement the development was not only shaped by, but helped build, public support for the project resulting in an amazing community facility that locals and visitors will use, experience and be proud of for many years to come.”

A travel plan, community minibus, public transport discounts and pedestrian maps were also developed to minimise the impact of additional traffic in the area.

Visit one of Birmingham’s most interesting and iconic historic buildings ahead of major restoration works

A series of guided walks is about to give local people the chance to visit one of Birmingham’s most interesting and iconic historic buildings ahead of major restoration works, led by Burrell Foley Fischer, starting in the New Year.

The series of ‘Walkshops’ will enable people to enjoy a walking tour with a difference as they explore the secret stories and murky history of the Roundhouse and Birmingham’s famous canals. The Walkshops are being hosted by Roundhouse Birmingham, a partnership between the Canal & River Trust and the National Trust. 

Roundhouse, Birmingham

Roundhouse, Birmingham

Led by Secret City Arts the evening walks, one aimed at families and another at adults, will enable visitors to create stories from the things they find on their walk.

Stomping Stories, which is aimed at families, will create tall tales from clues spotted around the city’s canals and streets. The adult walk, Dark and Wintry Tales, will enable people to explore hidden nooks and crannies to create dark, atmospheric stories.

Each circular walk will start and finish at the Roundhouse where restoration works are due to begin in early January. The project, made possible through a £2.5m National Lottery grant, will see the Grade II* listed building transformed into a city base from which to explore Birmingham’s canals by foot, bike or boat.

Chris Maher, visitor experience development manager for Roundhouse Birmingham, said; "We’re really looking forward to the Walkshops and we hope lots of people join us for a very different kind of guided walk.

"The Roundhouse is a really atmospheric place, particularly as darkness falls. We want people to join us as we venture out onto the city’s canals and streets to create the most amazing stories from the things we spot.

It promises to be a great experience so we’d encourage people to book their place, wrap up warm and get a totally different perspective on the city."  

The Roundhouse was built in 1874 by the Birmingham Corporation and was originally used as stables and stores. Designed by local architect W.H. Ward, the horse-shoe shaped building has become a real landmark within the city but over the last ten years the majority of it has been steadily falling into disrepair.

As well as offering a base from which to explore the canal network, plans for the Roundhouse include a café, a cycle hire and repair workshop, volunteering opportunities and a shared working space. It’s anticipated that the Roundhouse will attract over 50,000 people a year, both from the local community and visitors from further afield.

Details of the Walkshops can found here.

Citation published for BFF’s International Making Cities Livable Award

The citation has been published by the jury which recently presented John Burrell with their Honor Award for Excellence in Designing Public Places for Community, Democratic Dialogue, Health & Equity at the International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. The award recognises Burrell Foley Fischer’s work with organisations such as SAVE Britain’s Heritage and The Spitalfields Trust in proposing alternative viable schemes for Smithfield Market, King’s College Strand and the Norton Folgate Area of Spitalfields.

The jury’s comments are:

'This project to save the historic fabric and vibrant quality of life of a section of London has enormous international significance, especially now, when large scale demolition of swathes of historic cities around the world is accelerating.

The Norton Folgate district was democratically designated a Conservation Area 40 years ago. Mayor Johnson unilaterally swept that aside and declared it available for development. The area is now threatened with wholesale demolition of scores of premises and replacement with over-scaled office slabs and investment properties.

Burrell Foley Fisher’s scheme demonstrates how to holistically protect the area’s rich heritage assets, retain the fine grained urban fabric, and enhance the character of "Place", providing diverse jobs for local people, greatly increasing the housing, including affordable housing, and celebrating the presence, lives and works of Christopher Marlowe, Charles Dickens and Sir John Betjeman in Norton Folgate.

The IMCL jury strongly condemns the undemocratic "taking” of urban districts and public streets by developer-oriented governments that amplify inequality; and supports the protection of fine-grained, diverse, human scale urban fabric, heritage assets, and character of "Place" so admirably demonstrated in Burrell’s proposal for Norton Folgate.'

Further details of the award can be found here.

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After three years' work widely disseminating groundbreaking ideas and vivid imagery for a successful Public Inquiry, London’s historic Smithfield Market was saved from being demolished just to make way for a private office building. It will now be restored as a new Museum of London as a fully public building. The success established new conservation case law, valuing character and uses, not just façades.

Elsewhere, on Strand, an alternative strategy for a new public space opposed the demolition of a terrace of historic buildings and shops and the public outcry resulted in King's College withdrawing plans for a single building. There are now plans for the Strand next to King's College and Somerset House to become a new publicly accessible university precinct.

In the case of Norton Folgate, Spitalfields, the planning process and democratic planning decisions were ignored and overruled prompting legal challenges for a Judicial Review. The current threat of the demolition of scores of premises in the historic Norton Folgate district and replacement with six over-scaled office buildings (£100m) by a single organisation is being opposed using viable alternative more enlightened proposals. The community-backed scheme is going through the planning process and returning businesses, new occupiers, and affordable housing providers await the opportunity to return and preserve the scale and vibrant culture of this part of London.

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Main contract commences for new Arts Centre at Sherborne Girls

The Main Contract for the new Arts Centre at Sherborne Girls has started on site. The transformational project designed by Burrell Foley Fischer will benefit the whole school and wider Sherborne community. Morgan Sindall, the Main Contractor for the project, took procession of the site at the end of October.

The new Arts Centre, located at the heart of the campus, will comprise a new recital hall with 300 fixed seats (or capacity for 560 for school assembly). A multifunctional link building will provide a social space for exhibitions, display space to showcase talented artists, host talks by guest speakers, match teas and social events, whilst anchoring the new performing arts centre to the existing Art Building and Music Department. Once the new Arts Centre is complete, the music school will relocate and the Student Centre will be converted into the new Drama School.

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Prior to the main contract, a groundworks contract excavated the site which produced about 11,000 tonnes (about 7,000 cubic meters) of spoil from the main site and new tennis courts, which was spread across the playing fields to level the surface. Using the spoil to level the playing fields saved about 450 lorries taking it out of Sherborne for disposal. The School have published a time lapse video of the excavation.

ReEnergise has been appointed to install a Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) system for the new Arts Centre, which will displace natural gas for 100% of the heating for the new centre and will provide most of the cooling at a very attractive efficiency compared to traditional split air conditioning systems. They are installing approximately 200kW of heat pump compressor capacity and the site will collect the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive subsidy. The rationale for going ahead with the GSHP was both energy cost reduction and having a green energy source at the school.

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Stage 1 has begun, with the installation of the borehole array, comprising 19 boreholes each 150m deep, located under the existing playing fields close to the new Arts Centre. The final total number of boreholes will depend on the results of a formal Thermal Response Test which is underway. According to Bean Beanland, ReEnergise Associate Partner and technical lead on this project, ''The ground-source heat pump system will deliver sustainable heating and cooling to this fabulous new arts facility with a carbon emissions footprint that will reduce year on year as the carbon factor of the national grid reduces towards zero. The design life of the borehole array (100 years plus) is such that it represents a statement investment, by the school and the Board of Governors, in combating climate change for many generations of future pupils. It is hoped that the extensive monitoring of the system will also provide an invaluable teaching aid as the school continues to educate those who will inherit responsibility for the planet in years to come.''

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BFF Cinema projects revealed as Regional Finalists for the 2018 Civic Trust Awards

The Depot, Lewes and Newlyn Filmhouse, two community cinemas designed by Burrell Foley Fischer have been revealed as Regional Finalists in the 2018 Civic Trust Awards. The awards were established in 1959 to recognise outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment and projects that demonstrate a positive civic contribution.

Newlyn Filmhouse

Newlyn Filmhouse

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. 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. Since opening the cinema has become a much-loved addition to the seaside town and fishing port, with one cinemagoer posting on Facebook “Best cinema seats ever, good steep sloped tiers, huge screen, good sound, not too hot. Lovely cafe. Perfect one on one service. Very very impressed.”

Depot Cinema, Lewes

Depot Cinema, Lewes

The Depot is a new three-screen community cinema on the site of the modest but much loved existing warehouse of the old Harveys brewery depot in Lewes. The three screens have been discreetly inserted within the saved brick shell, with the major design move being to attach a new glazed extension with the depot structure fully visible as the historic backdrop to the new box office, café bar, restaurant. A Facebook user commented, “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.”

As Regional Finalists, both cinemas will now by considered by the Civic Trust Awards for a National Award or Commendation.  In addition, The Depot has been shortlisted for consideration for the Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Universal Design. This award is given to projects which have demonstrated excellence in providing a scheme which is accessible for all users, from people with decreased mobility, to parents with small children, to people with sensory impairments and everything in-between.

Birmingham Roundhouse, 19th century canal-side stables, to be transformed into a hub to explore the city

Burrell Foley Fischer has been appointed architects for the Roundhouse in Birmingham. The 19th century canal-side stables and stores in the city centre are to be transformed into a hub from which to explore the city by foot, bike or boat. The project is a pioneering partnership between the Canal & River Trust and the National Trust, with vital funding from the National Lottery, to bring an important Birmingham landmark back to life through an innovative blend of heritage and enterprise. 

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The Roundhouse is one of Birmingham's most interesting and iconic buildings. Built in 1874 by the Birmingham Corporation, it was originally used as stables and stores. Designed by local architect W. H. Ward, the horseshoe-shaped building has become a real landmark in the city.

As well as offering a base from which to explore the canal network, plans for the Roundhouse include a café, a cycle hire and repair workshop, volunteering opportunities and a shared working space. It is hoped that it will attract 50,000 people a year, both from the local community and visitors from further afield. The project has been awarded £2.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

BFF has been appointed to develop the designs, which Roundhouse Birmingham had previously secured planning permission for, ready for construction which is anticipated to commence in early 2018.

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Stuart Mills, Property Director for the Canal & River Trust, said: “This project is fantastic news for Birmingham, and will breathe new life into one of the city’s most recognisable and much-loved historic buildings. The Roundhouse will be a fantastic place to showcase Birmingham’s waterways and heritage and inspire people to explore all that the city has to offer.”

Lucy Reid, Assistant Director of Operations at the National Trust, said: “The Roundhouse project is all about partnership and co-creation. The end result will be an inspiring and atmospheric space at the heart of our city’s canal network from which to explore the waterways and the hidden histories of the people who made Birmingham – lamplighters, boatspeople and horses.”

Mark Foley taking part in Creative Minds Symposium

Mark Foley is to join a panel of leading thinkers, contemporary philosophers and creative minds to analyse, respond to and debate a shared moment of performance – the critically acclaimed production of Pinocchio from the award-winning Sadler’s Wells Associate and international choreographer Jasmin Vardimon.

Production still, Pinocchio

Production still, Pinocchio

The symposium, hosted by Geoffrey Colman, Head of Acting of Royal Central School (acting coach, director, writer and broadcaster), will provide a fantastic opportunity for the general public as well as MA students, undergraduate and A-level teachers/students to witness fresh and creative ways to analyse and interpret Jasmin’s work. This free event will follow the matinee performance, and is ahead of the evening performance of Pinocchio at Sadler’s Wells on Saturday 28 October.

Mark has specialist expertise in the design of theatres, auditoria spaces and buildings for the performing arts. He has gained particular experience in the design of modern and classical dance facilities and he carries out consultancy and research in this field. His work has led to numerous publications, participation on advisory bodies and teaching positions. 

The event is free but will be ticketed. Book by emailing admin@jasminvardimon.com or by calling 01233 628545.

Further details about the symposium can be found here.

Depot Cinema featured in CIBSE Journal

The CIBSE Journal has featured an article by Daniel Howes from SGA Consulting, on the Depot Cinema in Lewes.

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SGA were the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers for the project, which converted a former brewery depot into a three-screen community cinema. The article focuses on some of the challenges faced by the design team. These included lighting the exterior of a building in an area classed as intrinsically dark, the solution to which included consultation with a ranger from the South Downs National Park Authority to ensure that the colour temperature of the external lighting was fauna friendly. There is also discussion of the passive measures used to minimise the environmental impact of the new cinema, including careful specification of the curtain-wall glazing and the use of horizontal brise soleil to supply the correct amount of shading.

The full article can be read here.

New Housing for the London Borough of Islington at the Parkview Estate granted Planning Permission

Planning Permission has been granted for BFF’s scheme for 40 new units on the Parkview Estate for the London Borough of Islington. The scheme consists of six new residential buildings inserted within the estate and includes extensive new landscaping and improvements to community facilities. The new housing has been achieved without the need to demolish any existing housing and will lead to an overall increase in the amount of green space on the estate. Members voted unanimously in support of the scheme, which was praised for its high quality design and sympathetic response to the conservation area.

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The current estate consists of several post-war era residential buildings, arranged around large central car parks and along an estate road on the rear boundary of the site. The estate has a relatively low density for the area and includes several dilapidated and underused sheds, stores and other areas, which has presented an opportunity to provide new residential accommodation and improved landscaping and community facilities.

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The proposals consist of six new residential buildings ranging in size from the smallest, a pair of two-bedroom apartments in a new two-storey building, up to the largest, a block of 14 apartments of various sizes, yielding a total of 40 new units. In addition to the new homes, the excessive parking areas have been rationalised so that the parking is situated closer to the majority of entrances, freeing up space in the central areas for new extensive community gardens and children’s play areas.

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The proposals also include new and improved refuse and recycling areas, improved bicycle stores and general stores, a new community space at the base of one of the new blocks and extensive new landscaping throughout.

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Burrell Foley Fischer have long advocated the infilling of areas of underused land on local authority sites, especially where these areas create security and privacy problems and are open to abuse due to poor definition of public and private space. This has been achieved at the Parkview Estate without demolition or a net loss of green space, through a process of extensive consultation and thoughtful, creative design. The scheme is the latest in a succession of infill housing designed by BFF for the London Borough of Islington over the past decade.

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BFF wins International Design Award for Designing Public Places for Community, Democratic Dialogue, Health & Equity

John Burrell has been presented with an Honor Award for Excellence in Designing Public Places for Community, Democratic Dialogue, Health & Equity at the International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. The award recognises Burrell Foley Fischer’s work with organisations such as SAVE Britain’s Heritage and The Spitalfields Trust in proposing alternative viable schemes for Smithfield Market, King’s College Strand and the Norton Folgate Area of Spitalfields.

The Honor Award, in the Proposed Category, is given to the project that best showcases the general urban design principles and livability criteria espoused by IMCL. Their criteria states that:

“Winning projects will respect the fundamental DNA of the city, including the cultural and physical history, and should be socially as well as ecologically sustainable. Projects may be public or private; neighborhoods, districts, streets, spaces, places, buildings or art; regional or local in scope ……. but every project must enhance the livability of the city by creating a more humane, multi-functional, stimulating, useful, beautiful, egalitarian public realm. They will contribute to creating a city integrated with its region and landscape, a city that is good for children and the poor, a city based on human scale and the pedestrian, a city that promotes health and healthy behavior, a city of short distances, an equitable city, a city that is a work of art, a city that future generations will enjoy …….  A Livable City.”

Prior to receiving the award, John Burrell presented a paper on his work at Smithfield Market, King's College Strand and Spitalfields to the conference. He also hosted a session on 'Reclaiming Neglected Neighbourhoods' based on his award-winning experience of working with residents on public housing, with speakers discussing examples from New York, Montana and Texas. 

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John Burrell to address the 54th International Making Cities Livable Conference

John Burrell is to address the 54th InternationalMaking Cities Livable Conference on Public Places for Community, Democratic Dialogue, Health, & Equity, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

Public Realm, Squares and Place, Active Streets and Transport – The Livable City

Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard, Co-founder & Director of the IMCL, said “Public places – our streets, plazas, squares, and green spaces – belong to ALL of us! They are our democratically shared common wealth - the most important aspect of every city. How we treat the public realm demonstrates how we value our fellow citizens, our democratic principles, and our community. If we treasure our plazas and main squares as beautiful places for community festivals and celebrations, we are embracing our unity and the power of our shared identity as a city."