Tring Park featured in new book “100 Projects UK CLT”

Dance Studios at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer, are featured in a new publication presenting the case for the use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) in construction.  The building is among one hundred case studies featured in the book, encompassing a wide range of scales, styles and types.

In the foreword the authors note that “While cross-laminated timber (CLT) appears to be finally entering the mainstream, there is considerable inertia in the construction industry that impedes the greater adoption of this truly innovative material. The benefits are clear - building in timber is quick, clean, and easy. It can be achieved with a measured accuracy and lack of noise, waste, or need for material storage space. It has notable benefits in terms of warmth, acoustics, and structural efficiency. In a world ever more concentrated in urban areas, timber is the basis for safe and healthy cities composed of exceptionally designed and responsibly constructed buildings.”

  Dance Studios at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

Dance Studios at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

Rooted in the site’s natural setting the building takes a holistic approach to the environmental conditions related to dancers’ specific needs. The internal heights of the dance studios reach 6 metres at their curved apex reducing to 4 metres towards the eaves. Externally, the eaves are kept intentionally low to reduce the profile of the building while the curved apex and wild flower meadow roof sensitively soften the building into the landscape.

The timber is exposed internally, painted with a white wash to provide a light internal surface that is warm to the touch. The building is naturally ventilated for a large proportion of the year through opening roof lights and perimeter ventilation, with low velocity mechanical ventilation used at other times.

BFF have designed a number of buildings using CLT, including an academic building with six classrooms and six science laboratories for Kingham Hill School, an Arts Centre featuring a 300-seat Recital Hall at Sherborne Girls and a Performing Arts Centre with a 370-seat theatre at Hurstpierpoint College.

  Sherborne Girls Arts Centre under construction

Sherborne Girls Arts Centre under construction

Access a free PDF copy of the book here.

Beijing Design Week - City for Tomorrow Conference 2018: Leisure City

John Burrell is participating in an exchange between the United Kingdom and China as part of Beijing Design Week 2018. He is joining representatives from different British practices and consultancies, in Beijing, to take part in the “City for Tomorrow Conference 2018: Leisure City”, organised by Design Collective London.

His talk entitled “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body.. Healthy City, How people make cities” will focus on the importance of harnessing the initiative, energy, vision and diversity of individuals and communities within the city as an alternative to large scale interventions and isolated mono-functionalised ‘use’ zones, over-scaled buildings, anonymous spaces and wasted land.


John will discuss how, through harnessing local initiatives, we can create cultural, recreational and leisure buildings and spaces that relate to each individual ‘locality’ and its topology.  He will show how, with a range of activities, it is possible to grow a new local identity and community related to good public spaces, such as streets, squares, parks, gardens, markets etc., to make new neighbourhoods, with human scale, individual character and identity.

The talk will make reference to successful places of a scale where everyday work/leisure life style is in itself inherently healthier, e.g. the ‘15 minute city’ alternative; moving towards more balanced energy-efficient liveable places, that are locally structured to give a better use of time for leisure, sporting, recreation and cultural pursuits for all ages on a daily basis.

John will draw upon BFF’s many UK-wide cultural and creative ‘hub’ projects including the site for the New Museum of London in the centre of the city, an alternative for Spitalfields and the Depot Cinema and cultural ‘hub’ in Lewes.

  Depot Cinema, Lewes

Depot Cinema, Lewes

John Burrell to take part in Lewes FutureScoping Symposium

John Burrell is taking part in FutureScoping, a symposium on the future of Lewes’s cultural infrastructure provision: “What do we want? What does Lewes need?”

John is a founding Principal at Burrell Foley Fischer, the architects for the award-winning Depot Cinema. The venue was recently described as having “reused and extended a redundant semi-derelict warehouse to create a new townscape and a community amenity performing functions far beyond the cinematic experience. This is an outstanding mixed use cultural building and an exemplary piece of placemaking.” 

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Other participants at the symposium include: Alison Grant, founder and director of Fitzroy House – Lewes’s latest cultural hub; Frances Hollis WorkHome advocate and researcher on this new ‘beyond LiveWork’ housing approach: Piers Taylor, Invisible Studio experimental architect, most recently on the participatory artists and makers Watchett Arts Hub; and Jess Steele, director Jericho Road, social and community development, led Hastings Pier community organisation

The event is taking place at the Depot in Lewes on Sunday September 30th between 1.30 and 5.30pm.

FutureScoping is part of Make Lewes Festival 2018, a community organisation that promotes the exchange of knowledge in the fields of Making, Architecture, Design & Sustainability. They organise and run live projects, workshops, talks, seminars, exhibitions, film screenings and further events, with the aim of creating a dialogue between our local community and the wider national and international community of designers, makers and thinkers.

More details of the symposium can be found here.

Original Kiosk at Brighton West Pier to be Restored

Burrell Foley Fischer are leading a design team for the restoration and reconstruction of a kiosk at Brighton West Pier.

  Image courtesy West Pier Trust

Image courtesy West Pier Trust

The West Pier kiosk is the sole surviving complete element from the original pier and is the world’s oldest surviving pleasure pier building. The kiosk was recovered from the pier in the 1990s and West Pier Trust wishes to restore and reconstruct this exquisite cast iron building on the newly landscaped lower promenade and close to the BAi360, West Pier site and West Pier Centre. Although the kiosk is the single surviving building from the 1866 pier, originally it was one of six identical buildings sited in pairs along the deck of the pier. At the time, they were the largest pier buildings to have been constructed.

When rebuilt the octagonal kiosk will be over 8m in diameter and, including its ornate cupola, nearly 10m high. The kiosks were the first specifically designed pier buildings to be constructed of decorative cast iron. Nothing like them had been seen before. Contemporary commentators struggled to describe them. ‘Ornamental houses’ was the best they came up with; and it was some time before they became known as kiosks - a new exotic word in the 1860s from the Persian meaning palace or pavilion. From its West Pier origins, Seaside Orientalism appeared around Britain’s coasts and across the seas to other countries.

  Image courtesy West Pier Trust

Image courtesy West Pier Trust

The dismantled kiosk has been moved to a secure space where the preliminary work necessary to understand the challenges of restoration and the most appropriate methods to use, is taking place. All the components have been identified and tagged and expert engineering consultants are undertaking initial assessment of the cast-iron sections. An architectural paint investigation has been commissioned. The report has revealed that beneath twenty layers of paint applied to the kiosk since 1866, its original livery was light cream with details picked out in red-brown.

A precise site for the location of the restored kiosk has been identified. Brighton & Hove City Council has given planning approval for the restored kiosk to form the eastern element of the recently landscaped piazza on the lower promenade east of BAi360. The kiosk will be adjacent to the West Pier Centre, sited in one of the rebuilt seafront arch units, in view of the ruined skeleton of the pier-head theatre and next to the recently installed golden spiral made of reclaimed West Pier columns.

  Proposed East Elevation, courtesy John Burrell

Proposed East Elevation, courtesy John Burrell

The restored kiosk will have remarkable architectural and historical significance. However, in renewing the kiosk WPT does not simply wish to celebrate the past but also intends to use this exceptional architectural survival to enrich the present and the future. The Trust plans to use the kiosk as the home for Britain’s first Seaside Learning Centre, building on and expanding our long-established programme of activities, talks, lectures, guided tours and exhibitions for both adults and children.

Internally the kiosk will be a flexible space suitable for workshops, lectures and exhibitions and provide an innovative learning space designed to increase peoples’ enjoyment, understanding and knowledge of the seaside and coastal environment. For example, the programme might on the one hand include an historical look at the ‘invention’ of the idea of The Seaside in the nineteenth century; while on the other it might investigate the value of off-shore wind-farms and the impact of rising sea levels in the twenty-first century. It would also respond to the seasonal requirements of the city: offering gallery and performance space during the Brighton Festival, Punch and Judy workshops during the summer, a base for photographic studies of the pier head ruin and the starling murmuration in the winter.

BFF’s team includes John Burrell, whose association with the Pier goes back to his student days when he prepared measured drawings of the kiosks and the entire pier which are now deposited with the Royal Commission for Historic Monuments, and Faye Davies, whose Conservation Architecture Diploma was on the life and works of Eugenius Birch, the designer of Brighton West Pier.

Learn more about West Pier here.

Cranfield University reveals designs for their new Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre

Cranfield University have today revealed Burrell Foley Fischer’s designs for their new Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) facility, at the Farnborough International Airshow.


The DARTeC facility is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2019 and will be formally opened in early 2020. The facility will provide a research environment which is protected from, and yet accessible to, a live aerodrome that allows research at a variety of technology readiness levels. The facility consists of a central building containing a suite of digital aviation research laboratories, a partially covered ‘hangar laboratory’, a 737-400 aircraft, an intelligent movement area, and a remote air traffic control centre with conventional and advanced holographic radar systems capable of monitoring and controlling the airspace around Cranfield’s aerodrome.

Located adjacent to the DARTeC central building, the hangar laboratory will house Cranfield’s 737-400 aircraft which will be connected through an airport-style air-bridge. The hangar laboratory will include aircraft sensing equipment, visual, thermal and load distribution, for digital maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) studies and markings for an airport gate. The laboratory will house airport ground handling vehicles where assistive digital technologies will be researched and integrated to improve ground operation efficiency and safety. In addition, the facility will enable research into the development of fully-autonomous ground handling vehicles and the application of UAVs for remote inspection concepts.


The Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre is a unique opportunity to bring together sector leads from across the aviation industry (airspace management, airport, airline and aircraft) within a collaborative research environment to create, experiment and challenge the digital status quo through accelerating digital systems integration.

Depot Lewes wins South East LABC Building Excellence Award

The Depot Lewes has been awarded Best Public Service Building in the 2018 South East LABC Building Excellence Awards. The Local Authority Building Control awards celebrate achievements in the construction industry. They reward excellent buildings, outstanding companies, and partnerships and individuals that go that extra mile. 

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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 and film education and training facilities. Reflecting the historic site layout of orchards and meadows, the former tarmacked service yard is landscaped to provide a new public realm. 

The project will now go forward to the National Awards later this year, where it will compete against the award winners in other regions across the country. 

  Carmen Slijpen (centre), Director & Programmer at Lewes Depot with the other winners

Carmen Slijpen (centre), Director & Programmer at Lewes Depot with the other winners

Helen Grassly participates in the Sibiu International Theatre Festival 2018

Helen Grassly has addressed the Theatre & Architecture conference at Sibiu International Theatre Festival 2018. The most important annual festival of performing arts in Romania, it brings participants from 70 countries into Sibiu and caters for 62,000 spectators a day. The theme of the conference was “Looking Ahead at the Way Architectural Design, Programming, Technology and the Evolution of Our Communities Will Shape the Theatres and Theatrical Experience of the Future”.

  Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu, Romania

Considering the fact that the city of Sibiu wants to build a new theatre, a congress centre and a research institute for the performing arts and cultural management, this event will contribute to the formulation of aspirations and objectives related to this platform for "Radu Stanca" National Theatre of Sibiu and for the Sibiu International Theatre Festival in order to fulfil the community requirements and those of the architectural and urban environment as best as it can. The participants analysed the relationship between the act of creation and the theatre buildings in a multi-layered discussion, as well as the way in which this relationship is affected by and - in its turn - affects the community, the financial and social durability, but also the evolution of the arts.

  Hall For Cornwall, one of the projects highlighted at the conference

Hall For Cornwall, one of the projects highlighted at the conference

Helen participated in the session “Performing Arts Spaces We Have Built” outlining how venues Burrell Foley Fischer have designed have stood the test of time, have been effective in meeting their original aspirations and how they have met evolving business models and artistic requirements. She explained how our experience demonstrates the possibility for performing art spaces to endure, to be sustainable as well as sustaining and indeed to be a driver for renewal.  Helen outlined our philosophy that successful venues are tied to their regional, urban and cultural roots, engage with their city and community by being visible, widely accessible and supporting the next generation of talent and providing performance spaces that the wider artistic community wants to work, play and experiment in.

Fellow panellists included Joe Melillo, Executive Producer at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, USA; Jason Flanagan, Flanagan Lawrence Architects, UK; and Andrzej Kosendiak, Director of the National Forum of Music, Poland.

Read more on the festival's website.

Sunday School Stories Launch Party at Union Chapel

Union Chapel is a Grade I listed architectural treasure that's home to a working church, an award-winning venue, a unique organ and The Margins Project for those homeless and in crisis in London. Burrell Foley Fischer has developed a masterplan for the conservation and ongoing development of the Chapel. There is now an exclusive opportunity to learn more about the next exciting phase of conservation and community activity at Union Chapel, transforming their Sunday School Hall.

  From the Union Chapel Archive

From the Union Chapel Archive

Sunday School Stories – a tale of dissent and social change, will take place in the Sunday School Hall on Thursday 14th June. There will be the opportunity to learn about plans to reveal the hidden history of Union Chapel’s Sunday School and create a beautiful space for contemporary community use. Sunday School Stories will uncover the social impact of the nonconformists, dissenters and early liberals who founded the Chapel.

The programme of works will carry out urgent repairs to the Sunday School Hall and tell the story of a space used by pop stars, play schools and the homeless. The project will transform an underused space rarely open to the public. It will create an accessible, 200 capacity, community space for the arts, learning, heritage activities, ideas sharing and participative events. It will also create an important permanent home for the Chapel’s nonconformist collection so it can become a resource for study and research.  To do this they need to raise £1.6 million by summer 2019.

  From the Union Chapel Archive

From the Union Chapel Archive

This money will allow them to:

  • Repair the failing roof and brickwork;
  • Make the room accessible;
  • Conserve the original Akron plan interior, library and study booths;
  • Introduce discreet modern services such as electrics and drainage;
  • Create a dedicated and public home for their historic collection of nonconformist materials and ephemera;
  • Create new, free and engaging programmes for community participation.

Everybody is welcome to join them and be the first to hear all about the plans, what they need to do and how to become involved. Places are free but are strictly limited as it will be held in the Sunday School itself, so advance booking via their website is essential.


Ibrahim Buhari joining the RIBA Architects for Change Advisory Group

We are delighted that Ibrahim Buhari is joining the RIBA Architects for Change (AfC) Advisory Group. Members of the RIBA Expert Advisory Groups use their expertise to inform RIBA responses to consultations, proactive campaigns as well as products and guidance to support the profession. Group remits range from representing a member constituency to providing technical expertise and advising the RIBA on client relationships.

Architects for Change is the RIBA’s advisory group for equality, diversity and inclusion. AfC strives to promote equality and diversity in the education and practice of architecture. It supports the RIBA in developing policies and activities aimed at promoting diversity and equal opportunities in the architectural profession.

  Ibrahim Buhari

Ibrahim Buhari

Ibrahim joined Burrell Foley Fischer in 2013 where he completed his Part III studies, qualifying as an Architect in 2016. He has a particular interest in promoting diversity within the profession and acts a mentor with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, working with young people wishing to pursue a career in architecture or the built environment. He said “I fully support the RIBA’s commitment to diversity and believe that employment diversity will contribute positively to the effectiveness and influence of the architectural profession. The RIBA is as strong as its members and the richness of the profession lies with holding a diverse community which taps into the range of skills and experience that this can bring to the table. I’m looking forward to making a positive contribution to this through the Architects for Change group.”

Depot, Lewes Community Screen is recognised with prestigious planning industry award

Depot, Lewes Community Screen has been highly commended for Excellence in Planning in Heritage and Culture at the national Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2018. The RTPI Awards are the longest running and most high-profile awards in the UK planning industry. For over 40 years, they have rewarded the brightest talent in the profession; the teams, projects and individuals that transform economies, environments, and their communities all over the UK and internationally.

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The transformation of the former Harvey’s brewery depot in Lewes, a prominent location close to the railway station, into a major arts venue - with a cinema, restaurant and education facilities known as ‘Depot, Lewes Community Screen’ - had already been crowned the overall winner at the RTPI South East Awards for Planning Excellence and has now been recognised nationally.

The previously vacant site is in a prominent, sensitive location within Lewes Conservation Area, the South Downs National Park, and surrounded by numerous listed buildings, which has been sensitively redeveloped to provide a new community 3-screen cinema with a café/bar, restaurant and film education and training facilities. The redevelopment, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer, also includes new green infrastructure including an orchard, wild flower garden and landscaping.

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The judges’s comments were “A desire to reuse existing buildings to create The Depot rather than simply redevelop the site demonstrates proactive planning at its best. The planners undertook useful, ongoing engagement with the local community, including very strong pre application consultation – a key to this project’s success. The project team worked closely with key stakeholders to deliver a community arts centre that is universally supported and of genuine community value.” 

RTPI commented “Depot is a new community cinema in the town of Lewes. The design is an excellent example of the creative re-imagination and re-use of an originally utilitarian building within a conservation area and surrounded by listed buildings. The design acknowledges the significance of the building in its wider context and re-purposes it sympathetically using modern and sustainable additions. Through good planning practice and early community engagement the resulting development is a triumph and an amazing community facility.” 


The Depot Community Cinema featured in online magazines

The Depot Lewes, has been featured in two recent online magazine articles. The new community cinema designed by Burrell Foley Fischer was created on the site of the former Harvey's Brewery depot, with the screens inserted within the saved brick shell. A new glazed extension houses the box office, café bar/restaurant and film education and training facilities.

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The article published on is written by Michael Doyle, from Doyle Town Planning and Urban Design.

“The building forms a new landmark in the conservation area and begins to complete the setting of the adjacent railway station. The former brewery warehouse was part of the historic Harvey’s Brewery that still dominates the town's river wharves today. The site adjoins former railway yards, which were later given over to station parking. This was a classic gap site between the core of the town and the station that needed to be stitched back into the urban fabric.

The Depot Cinema has reused and extended a redundant semi-derelict warehouse to create a new townscape and a community amenity performing functions far beyond the cinematic experience. This is an outstanding mixed use cultural building and an exemplary piece of placemaking.”

BFF_The Depot_Lewes_©Hufton+Crow_020.jpg

The article published on by Ian McKay, from BBM Sustainable Design, is entitled “A Cinema in the Park”, and discusses the new ‘public realm’ created by landscaping the former tarmacked service yard.

“One of the more successful moves carried off by the architects was to create one continuous 'L'- shaped volume to serve as the circulation to the screen rooms and double up as the social space which can open out onto the courtyard. Like many English towns, Lewes never really acquired that convivial continental formula of a public space with cafés lining the periphery of a town square. There is a bit of a pedestrianised high street but you could not describe it as an 'urban living room'. Whereas at the Depot, the north and east wings are continued around on the west side with enough landscaped topography and the viaduct beyond to create a horseshoe-shaped courtyard. Thus the whole space is wind protected from three sides of the compass and only open to the south where even winter sun angles can be enjoyed. It undoubtedly will bring cosmopolitan outdoor urban life to East Sussex, essentially a new cultural idiom for local people to get used to.

Another enjoyable result of the project is the sense of well being the building affords to those who use it. It seems to be imbued inside and out with that rare architectural formula of making one feel good. In simple terms it is just providing good environmental conditions for human comfort but its actually a bit more than that. It is an optimised place for convivial social interaction.”

Planning Permission granted for New Housing for the London Borough of Islington on the Wedmore Estate

Planning Permission has been granted for 19 new dwellings on the Wedmore Estate in Islington, London. The scheme is the latest in a succession of new build housing projects designed by BFF for the London Borough of Islington on areas of social housing identified as capable of being significantly improved as better places to live, with new homes and landscaping.  

  The main entrance to the estate, with the existing Weatherbury House on the right and the proposed new block on the left.

The main entrance to the estate, with the existing Weatherbury House on the right and the proposed new block on the left.

BFF's designs have created 19 new build dwellings on existing Council land on the Wedmore Estate, as a result of rationalising the layout of former car park areas. Twelve (63%) are for Social Housing and 7 for market sale. BFF's scheme was praised as an excellent, high-quality, proposal that includes benefits for the whole of the existing estate. No demolition is involved and 16 new trees will be planted, increasing the overall number of trees on the site. The existing, predominately hard tarmac surface will include much more varied planting, structured around entrances and play areas, with improved and more attractive lighting.

  The rear of the proposed new block, with the enlarged resident’s garden and new play area in the foreground.

The rear of the proposed new block, with the enlarged resident’s garden and new play area in the foreground.

No additional parking is provided but the existing provision is laid out more economically, with some spaces located closer to existing building entrances. Clearly marked, safer pedestrian routes using lighter coloured paved surfaces and lighting will be added. The existing, well looked after and well-loved, residents’ garden will be added to and integrated with a relocated landscaped play area. The landscape and planting of this existing garden will for the first time be continuous with the two elongated open spaces to be enhanced and greened between the existing five-storey buildings.

It is the third BFF/LBI scheme to achieve planning consent in the past few months; 41 new homes on the Parkview Estate last October and a further 41 new homes at Dixon Clark Court in March this year.

Official opening of the Campbeltown Picture House

The Campbeltown Picture House, which has undergone a £3.5m restoration and extension, has been re-launched by Nicholas Ferguson CBE, Chairman of Savills and Chairman of the Argyll & Bute Economic Forum.  A Category A Listed building, The Picture House has the joint accolade of being one of Europe’s few surviving atmospheric cinemas and Scotland’s oldest purpose-built cinema still in operation. The centenary project, led by Burrell Foley Fischer, has seen the art nouveau exterior extensively restored and the main auditorium returned to its 1930s design, as well as the addition of a new state of the art second screen, café, education room and other facilities.


Designed by Albert V. Gardner, one of the most celebrated cinema designers in the first half of the 20th century, Campbeltown Picture House opened in 1913. Gardner had studied architecture at The Glasgow School of Art between 1901 and 1905, and the influence of this seminal building is reflected in the Glasgow School Art Nouveau design of the 1913 building. Twenty years later Gardner was invited back to Campbeltown to modernise the interior of the cinema which he did in the “atmospheric” style which was all the rage at the time.

Popular from the late 1920s atmospheric cinemas transported audiences to exotic places such as European courtyards or gardens. The ceilings were often painted with starry skies or with wispy floating clouds and other elements such as trellises, balconies and painted trees created the special atmosphere. Few of these cinemas now survive with Campbeltown Picture House being the only extant example in Scotland and one of only a handful in Europe.


For Campbeltown Picture House Gardner embellished the cinema with a blue sky with moving white clouds projected across it, and two plasterwork buildings (known locally as the “wee houses”) on either side of the screen that gave the ambiance of a Mediterranean courtyard. These special features have been meticulously restored with other elements of the original design such as the stunning art deco lights recreated by contemporary craftspeople.

The re-launch of the cinema marks the culmination of more than three decades of work and commitment by Campbeltown Community Business Ltd to bring this historic gem back to its full glory. 



Nicholas Ferguson CBE said:

“Campbeltown Picture House has been a central part of the life of the town for over a hundred years and today marks the beginning of a new chapter in its long and illustrious history. I am delighted to have been asked officially to reopen the cinema after its wonderful restoration.”

“What we see today could not have been possible without the vision of two very special people, Jane and David Mayo. Through their unfailing commitment, energy and enthusiasm not only has the original cinema been restored to its full glory, but there is now a state of the art second screen, flexible education, workshop and business space and a lovely café.”

 “The restored Picture House will offer a wonderful resource for the people of Campbeltown and the Argyll peninsular, and we hope will attract people from far and wide to come and visit.”


The restoration has been made possible with a major grant from The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and grants from Coastal Communities Fund, Creative Scotland, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Historic Environment Scotland, Argyll & Bute Council, The Robertson Trust, Architectural heritage Fund, and many other donations.

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland said: “To see this much-loved Picture House as magnificent as it was the day it opened over 100 years ago is a delight. With the help of National Lottery funding, history and 21st century design have come together to create an incredible cultural centre for the local community. Standing proud on the seafront, it will bring joy to those who visit from near and far for many years to come.”


Since reopening last December, the Centenary Project has been well received, bringing back old audiences and attracting new audiences across the age range.  The extended opening hours makes the facility accessible to islanders on Gigha, as well as to residents of Campbeltown and across the Kintyre Peninsular.

The re-launch also saw the first screening of The Wee Pictures, a specially commissioned film. Oban based filmmaking duo Andy Crabb and James Gray have followed the restoration of the Picture House over the last year and a half. Weaving together fascinating footage from the restoration with interviews with key figures from the cinemas past, archive materials and the redoubtable Mr Burnette (played to a tee by Roddy MacEachen) to create a  “Charming, quirky and delightful” portrait of this unique and historic cinema.

For further information on Campbeltown Picture House visit their official website.

Aidan Ridyard to address British Dyslexia Association Conference

Aidan Ridyard is this afternoon speaking about his experience of dyslexia at the British Dyslexia Association’s prestigious Telford International Centre. Through the power of social media an unexpected link was made. Aidan saw a post about the International Conference and posted “Hey there fellow dyslexics: you might be interested to know Telford International Centre was designed by this particular dyslexic!!”

  Telford International Centre by Aidan Ridyard at Hickton Madeley Architects

Telford International Centre by Aidan Ridyard at Hickton Madeley Architects

The 11th British Dyslexia Association’s International Conference (BDA IC) and EXPO is a leading conference on Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties.

Tom Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the Southwater Event Group, “We are looking forward to welcoming all the guests, delegates and visitors to the British Dyslexia Association International Conference and are thrilled by the coincidental connection relating to Aidan being instrumental in our Centre’s design.  He did a great job as the striking architecture of our venue is regularly and favourably commented upon”.

Aidan described a little of his inspirational journey from a boy who could barely read and write to a successful architect with 25 years in practice, and now a Principal at Burrell Foley Fischer, a practice of 30 people in London and Birmingham.

“I was born in the late 60’s, so growing up there wasn’t much awareness of dyslexia. My parents couldn’t figure out how I seemed intelligent and articulate enough but could barely read and write at school. Fortunately, they heard about a research group at Aston University and took me there in the early 70’s. Lo and behold, when we understood my problem, we could address it!” 

Helen Boden, Incoming CEO at the British Dyslexia Association, explained, “A discrepancy between oral ability and reading and/or writing is often one of the first indicators of dyslexia in a child’s first few years at school.“

  Telford International Centre by Aidan Ridyard at Hickton Madeley Architects

Telford International Centre by Aidan Ridyard at Hickton Madeley Architects

Dyslexia affects approximately 10% of the population. Many adults and children with dyslexia struggle to fulfil their potential, as a large percentage of the population still does not understand what dyslexia is; the difficulties which the condition presents and how to support someone with dyslexia. Dyslexia is not an obvious difficulty; it is hidden. As a result, people with dyslexia must overcome numerous barriers to reach their full potential and recognise their differences as strengths.

After being diagnosed with dyslexia, Aidan Ridyard managed, through much hard work, to get O and A levels then to go on and be awarded a first-class degree in Architecture. Despite his high level of academic achievements, he still finds its challenging to read out loud, but has found ways to make his skills eclipse his difficulties.

Recently, Aidan Ridyard spoke about careers in architecture at the Skills Show, NEC. After the presentation a young lady approached him and said, “I really like architecture, but I’m worried I couldn’t do it because I’m dyslexic.“ When he replied to say that he is too and that she’d be a better architect because she’s dyslexic, he was rewarded with a wonderful smile! 



Depot Lewes shortlisted for South East LABC Building Excellence Awards 2018

The Depot Lewes has been shortlisted for South East LABC Building Excellence Awards 2018. The Local Authority Building Control awards celebrate achievements in the construction industry. They reward excellent buildings, outstanding companies, and partnerships and individuals that go that extra mile. The Depot has been shortlisted in three categories, Best Change of Use of an Existing Building or Conversion, Best Public Service Building and Best Inclusive Building.

BFF_The Depot_Lewes_©Hufton+Crow_019.jpg

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 and film education and training facilities. Reflecting the historic site layout of orchards and meadows, the former tarmacked service yard is landscaped to provide a new public realm. 

BFF_The Depot_Lewes_©Hufton+Crow_009.jpg

The project has also been shortlisted for an RIBA South East Award and the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2018 in the excellence in planning for heritage & culture category.

The Depot Cinema, Lewes shortlisted for an RIBA South East Regional RIBA Award

The Depot has been shortlisted for a Royal Institute of British Architects South East Regional Award. It is one of 14 projects shortlisted in the region, from 44 entries, and will now be visited by the Jury Panel, with the winners announced in May. 

James Robinson, RIBA Regional Director said of the shortlist: “We are very lucky to have such outstanding buildings on the shortlist this year. It’s been a good year. The standard and variety of the entries is very high; from small private houses to the larger public and institutional buildings. The shortlist also demonstrates the fantastic amount of design talent in and around the regions, in practices both large and small, local and working nationally or indeed, internationally.

“The region has an amazing architectural heritage with buildings that have the capacity to amaze, inspire and improve our quality of life. This year’s RIBA Awards shortlist and the winners we are about to celebrate, show that they are still being built.”

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3 new screens and new place in the community

The Depot is a new community cinema for the town of Lewes, in East Sussex, built on the site of the old Harvey's Brewery depot. It shows feature and independent art-house films, as well as hosting events, exhibitions and festivals, and provides facilities for film education and community activities. A café/bar and restaurant allow filmgoers to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat at all times of day.


BFF’s approach

Burrell Foley Fischer were commissioned by Lewes Community Screen, who built and operate the new venue. BFF’s radical approach was to retain the much loved existing warehouse building, a popular landmark in a prominent location close to the town’s railway station, and insert the three new screens (140, 129 and 37 seats) within it. A new glazed foyer houses the box office, café/bar, restaurant, and film education and training facilities, giving a contemporary setting with the former industrial building as a visible backdrop. Reflecting the historic site layout of orchards and meadows, the former tarmacked service yard is landscaped to provide a new public realm.  It includes native and local plant species providing seasonal colour and a small orchard and wild flower meadow. 

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The inspired brief

The Depot is a privately funded philanthropic project, delivered without any draw on public funding. The project aims to make a positive contribution to the South Downs National Park and to respond to its unique and special qualities. It is now a contemporary exemplar of local flint craftsmanship. Because of the topography of Lewes and the South Downs, particular thought was given to the design of the roofscape, which is visible as a fifth elevation, and it features flint paving and a green roof planted with chalk loving plants, all found in the SDNP. There was extensive consultation with local access groups to ensure a welcoming and accessible facility.


The screens and backdrop spaces

Screen 1 has a stage and the technical infrastructure for small scale comedy acts and music performances and live music events are held in the café/bar. Screen 3 is available for private screenings and events and benefits from its own bar/lounge. As well as a cinema, the Depot has a café/bar and restaurant open throughout the day. It provides a welcoming and safe environment for all sectors of the community and visitors to Lewes. Proximity to the station makes it accessible to visitors from the wider district. 

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Local creativity

As well as the use of local flint in the design the project also celebrates local creativity. The foyers can accommodate the mounting of temporary exhibitions in addition to the permanent display of Stephen Chambers ‘The Big Country’, which has been donated by the artist. The acoustic wall panels in Screens 1, 2 and 3 are digitally printed with a reproduction of the life-size animated figures painted on the walls of the Depot by Julian Bell, when he used it as his studio prior to its conversion. There are facilities for film education, including a small film library and study space, and a multi-use room with a flat floor that is used for a range of training and workshop events. The extensive external landscaping incorporates facilities for outdoor screenings and events.

New Housing for the London Borough of Islington at Dixon Clark Court granted Planning Permission

Planning Permission has been granted for BFF’s scheme for 41 new dwellings at Dixon Clark Court. The scheme is the latest in a succession of new build housing projects designed by BFF for Islington Council on areas of social housing identified as capable of being significantly improved as better places to live, with new homes and landscaping.

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The existing Dixon Clark Court estate consists of a single residential tower surrounded mostly by tarmac and concrete except for a fenced-off communal garden and a grassed area and trees that screen it from the busy Highbury Corner roundabout. Planned improvements by TfL and the London Borough of Islington will replace the existing roundabout to create a new publicly accessible Arboretum.

The 41 new apartments, 27 for social rent, are arranged in individual houses around the existing tower to place it in a mews setting. It will establish a new enhanced garden setting for the existing tower, and the existing 59 flats will have, for the first time, a directly accessible communal south-facing garden. The western boundary is to be defined by retaining the majority of existing mature trees, within an improved amenity garden accessible to residents and informally planted in a wild meadow style with some car parking alongside, just to meet the current need.

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A new residential building onto Canonbury Road frames the existing tower to give a new active street presence and entrance to the estate and some enclosure and shelter to the new internal, shared garden spaces.

The mews houses range in height from one to four storeys and contain a variety of unit types and sizes. These are planned with generous ‘through’ spaces between them with courtyard gardens and roof terraces.

These ‘through’ spaces allow the passage of light, air, and views and establish an individual identity and human scale for each group of dwellings, with ground level entrance doors. Views both in and out of the site will be experienced by Dixon Clark Court residents and the residents in the neighbouring buildings and the conservation area.

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The scheme provides 41 new dwellings, well within the permitted density for this city centre site, and there will be an increase in usable, ‘green’ ground-level space. There will be no demolition except for small stores that will be re-provided. Roof terrace areas and greened roof areas will be additional amenities. An added bonus is that the garden spaces are directly accessible from all of the dwellings, making them more practical and likely to be used. A significant increase in the number of trees on the site is planned to provide shade and variety, and to define new spaces. These will more than compensate and exceed the few trees lost as a result of the proposals.

Commendation for Depot at Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Universal Design

We are delighted that the Depot, Lewes, was awarded a Commendation in this year’s Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Universal Design. The cinema was selected as just one of three projects to be recognised in this category, from the 234 projects entered into the 2018 Civic Trust Awards. The Commendation states that 'the design, layout and location of the Cinema maximises inclusive access in all respects', and that it 'provides welcoming and accessible, cultural and social facilities for visitors across the age and social spectrum regardless of abilities'.

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