Depot receives an award from the Friends of Lewes

The Depot Lewes has been presented with an award by the Friends of Lewes, The Lewes Civic Society, for making ‘a significant contribution to enhancing the character of Lewes’. 

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The Depot is a new three-screen community cinema, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer, on the site of the modest but much loved existing warehouse of the old Harvey’s 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.

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Phil Green from the Friends of Lewes said, “When we first met to discuss making these awards one candidate built within the past three years really required no debate; it clearly deserved an award.  Although I think it is probably more accurate to say yet another award. I am very pleased that Carmen from the Depot Cinema has come this evening to collect the certificate since she must be beginning to tire of receiving plaudits. Similarly for architects Burrell Foley Fischer. They took a fine example of a neat provincial neo-Georgian ex-GPO depot and attached to it a stunning building which both aesthetically and culturally has significantly contributed to the town.

However it is not simply the design of the building that makes The Depot a clear winner for our awards, exemplary though that is.  It is also the planning and consideration of the needs of the town and its population and the attention to detail that make the whole project so worthy of praise. One thing that particularly impressed was that the hoardings erected during the construction were decorated attractively, in a way that was relevant and engaged the community.

However an even more striking and permanent example of quality, attention to detail and the sympathetic modern treatment of local materials in the Depot, is, of course, the flint work.  And so we are also making an award to David Smith, possibly better known as the Flintman, for his work at the Depot, but actually, the panel in making this award wanted it to be seen also as an acknowledgement of the contribution he has made more widely around Lewes to maintaining and improving the fabric of the town.”

Burrell Foley Fischer on shortlist for restoration of National Theatre of Norway

It has been announced that a team including Burrell Foley Fischer are amongst a shortlist of eight groups that have been invited to tender for the design contract for a major restoration of the Norwegian National Theatre.

The National Theatre in Oslo is one of Norway's largest and most prominent venues for performance of dramatic arts. The theatre had its first performance on 1 September 1899 but can trace its origins to Christiania Theatre, which was founded in 1829. It was designed by architect Henrik Bull and is centrally located between the Royal Palace, Oslo and the Parliament of Norway. The main theatre contains three stages: the main stage (Hovedscenen), the amphitheatre (Amfiscenen) and the Painting Parlour (Malersalen).

Exterior - image courtesy Statsbygg

Exterior - image courtesy Statsbygg

Burrell Foley Fischer are part of a team led by Norweigian Architects, Lund Hagem Arkitekter AS. The team also includes MOE AS, Engineer Per Rasmussen AS, Bollinger + Grohmann Ingeniører AS and Dronninga Landskap AS. BFF will contribute their extensive experience of the conservation of historic buildings and designing theatres and buildings for the performing arts including; The Crucible, Sheffield (Listed Grade II); The Royal Hall Harrogate (Listed Grade II*), The New Theatre Royal Portsmouth (Listed Grade II*), Watford Palace Theatre (Listed Grade II), The Almeida, Islington (Listed Grade II), and Cambridge Arts Theatre Listed Grade II). Their remodelling and restoration of the Hall for Cornwall (Listed Grade II*) is currently on site and will increase its audience capacity and conserve and restore its important heritage elements and bring them into better use.

Main Stage - image courtesy National Theatret Oslo

Main Stage - image courtesy National Theatret Oslo

The selection of the design team is being led by Statsbygg, a public administration company under the Ministry of Local Government, who have stated that experience was an important criteria in the shortlisting process. “The groups have been selected both on the basis of solidity, expertise and previous experience”, says Communications Director Hege Njaa Aschim – “In this project, in the selection of companies we have emphasised transferable knowledge and experience with rehabilitation and antiquarian restoration”. She also stated experience with buildings for theatre and stage specialists were important qualifications. “Those selected are all well qualified, architects, landscape architects and consulting engineers in several subjects.”

The other seven selected groups are:

WSP Norge, Arkitektskap AS, AIX Arkitekter AB, WSP Teknikk AS, Ingeniør Per Rasmussen AS og Asplan Viak

NSW Arkitektur AS, Pir II Arkitekter, Norconsult, Ingeniør Per Rasmussen AS, DIFK, Studio Oslo Landskapsarkitekter og Tekka

Sweco Norge AS, Ratio Arkitekter, Origo arkitektgruppen AS og Futhark arkitekter AS

Snøhetta Oslo AS, ÅF Advansia og ÅF Engineering AS

Bollinger+Grohmann Ingeniører AS og Dronninga Landskap AS

Nordic Office of Architecture AS, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects, Haptic Architects, Norconsult AS

Multiconsult Norge, 4B Arkitekter AS, Dyrvik Arkitekter AS, Erichsen & Horgen AS og SLA Norge

Arkitema Architects AS, Reiulf Ramstad Architects, COWI og NIRAS

Union Chapel receives funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Union Chapel have been granted a Round 1 Award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their project to deliver a world class and exciting space for contemporary community, arts and cultural use. They have appointed BFF as Designers and Conservation Architects, and we will be working with them to develop the Sunday School Stories project in more detail and as they carry out community consultation. 

The Sunday School Hall, at the Grade I Listed Union Chapel is a hidden gem. Rarely seen by the public, its time for some TLC has finally come after years of urgent works focusing on the Chapel itself. The original roof has reached the end of its 140 year life, the brickwork is crumbling and the electrics and plumbing are in urgent need of upgrading. The project is an exciting one that will create more space at Union Chapel for contemporary community, arts and cultural uses but first it needs to be made safe and accessible

The Sunday School today. Image: Courtesy of Union Chapel

The Sunday School today. Image: Courtesy of Union Chapel

Union Chapel’s Sunday School Hall is a large, airy, double height space with a 3 sided wrap-around wrought iron balcony. The balcony is complete with original study booths and library. It is a space that combines simple grandeur and practicality – it was intended to cater for a wide range of activities, including classes for up to 180 children and families, sports, tea parties and bazaars.

The Sunday School, shortly after it was opened in 1877. Image: Courtesy of Union Chapel

The Sunday School, shortly after it was opened in 1877. Image: Courtesy of Union Chapel

The space is also home to books, papers and artefacts amassed since Union Chapel’s foundation in 1799. This collection is an untapped treasure trove of stories. It tells tales of nonconformists and their 100 year journey from persecuted minority to being part of the establishment. It tells of the increasing acceptance of their liberal values, which have helped shape our society. There’s more modern material documenting Union Chapel’s life as a venue, such as posters from the very first Big Chill nights and legendary events by the likes of Procal Harem, Patti Smith, The Moth and Emile Sande. But it’s also full of the everyday too, revealing insights into the lives of real local people and their ambitions for a better world.

As well as repairing the hall itself, Union Chapel wishes to conserve this collection to create an accessible archive. This project will create a mass of free skills based activities from conservation and archive skills to training in powerful public speaking – a skill of the activist leaders who helped found Union Chapel.

Most importantly though it will open up this little seen room and its collection for dedicated community use, cultural activity, ideas sharing and participative events – giving future generations the chance to create new stories of their own.

Roundhouse Birmingham restoration commences on site

Our project to restore the Roundhouse in Birmingham has commenced on site. 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.

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. Unlike most of the neighbouring Victorian architecture, this curious building survived the centuries and in 1976 was given a Grade II* listing due to its historic importance. But by the early 2000s, it had begun to fall into disrepair.

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As well as offering a base from which to explore the canal network, the restored Roundhouse will 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 and funding from Historic England.

The restoration work will sensitively celebrate the building’s history while connecting it with the waterways and communities that have shaped its story. The entire building from roof to cobbles is being restored, ensuring that it can continue to tell the history of Birmingham. In 2020 the Roundhouse will open to the public as an exciting new destination for Birmingham.

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SAVE Britain's Heritage welcomes proposals to pedestrianise a stretch of the Strand, London

SAVE Britain's Heritage has warmly welcomed proposals to pedestrianise a 200m stretch of the Strand in central London. The plans unveiled by Westminster City Council for public consultation will allow the creation of a new public piazza around some of London's finest buildings including St Mary Le Strand church, The Courtauld Institute of Art and Somerset House in front of King's College London.

SAVE first proposed the pedestrianisation of this area in 2015 when they successfully campaigned to stop the demolition of Nos 154-158 the Strand - four houses next to Somerset House owned by Kings College. Part of an alternative scheme drawn up by architect John Burrell of Burrell Foley Fischer Architects, showed the opportunity to create a magnificent new piece of public realm for the capital along this processional route between Buckingham Palace to St Paul's Cathedral.

Burrell Foley Fischer’s 2015 proposals

Burrell Foley Fischer’s 2015 proposals

Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE, said: "We are delighted to see the pedestrianisation plans we promoted in 2015 being taken forward. This is a unique opportunity to create a fantastic new public space - as impressive as Trafalgar Square - and to clean up the air on one of central London's most congested and polluted streets. It will create new and wonderful views of the surrounding historic buildings - including the Grade I listed St Mary Le Strand church - currently marooned on a traffic island."

Marcus Binney, Executive President of SAVE, said: "This will be the best and most enlightened example of good town planning since the creation of Covent Garden Piazza in the 1970s.  As a result, two of London's finest 18th century buildings Somerset House and St Mary le Strand will look as good as their counterparts in Rome and Paris."

The Aldwych — currently a one way gyratory to the north of the Strand — would be become two-way with new pedestrian crossings. The consultation runs until 13th March. A second round of consultation with more detailed plans is expected in late 2019.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architects, journalists and planners.  BFF have worked with SAVE on a number of campaigns, including saving Smithfield General Market from demolition by showing how the market halls could be attractive public spaces for new cultural and public facilities.  The alternative proposals were part of the case considered at Public Inquiry, which rejected the proposed demolition to allow office development on the site, and the preserved buildings will now become the new home of the Museum of London.

Aidan Ridyard and Ibrahim Buhari become Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts

We are delighted to announce that Aidan Ridyard and Ibrahim Buhari have been invited to become Fellows of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), whose mission is to enrich society through ideas and action.

The Society believes that all human beings have creative capacities that, when understood and supported, can be mobilised to deliver a 21st century enlightenment. Supported by their Fellows, they share powerful ideas, carry out cutting-edge research and build networks and opportunities for people to collaborate, helping to create fulfilling lives and a flourishing society. Their activities aim to strengthen, empower and mobilise networks to work together in taking on today’s most pressing social challenges and combine to produce real social change.

Ibrahim Buhari (left) and Aidan Ridyard (right) in the Vikki Heywood Room at the Rawthmells Coffeehouse, at the RSA

Ibrahim Buhari (left) and Aidan Ridyard (right) in the Vikki Heywood Room at the Rawthmells Coffeehouse, at the RSA

Aidan is a Principal in the practice with a particular passion for the design of spaces for teaching, learning and research, a philosophy running through a series of projects from schools to universities. He has taught at several universities in the UK and is active in an ongoing programme of research, notably into the effectiveness of learning spaces in higher education. At his previous practice, Aidan designed the Alison Gingell Building for Coventry University which opened last year and is transforming educational opportunities for nurses, paramedics, midwives and other health professionals. It houses a range of innovative healthcare simulation facilities, including an ambulance, hospital wards, intensive care unit and operating theatre. It also includes professional-standard science laboratories, Olympic-grade fitness and sports research areas and a sports therapy clinic which is open to the public. At BFF Aidan is currently leading the design team for the Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre at Cranfield University, which will spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology. 

Ibrahim is an Architect with a commitment to increasing diversity within the architectural profession, and in the construction industry in general, to redress the underrepresentation of professionals from BAME backgrounds. He is a member of RIBA Architects for Change, an expert advisory group on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. He is a mentor on the Career Pathways program, a mentoring programme for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. He has mentored secondary school pupils, providing guidance on career paths in support of the students' particular interests. He is a mentor on the University of East London’s ‘Centre for Student Success’ (CfSS) mentoring scheme – a program which connects industry professionals with undergraduate architecture students with the aim of providing insight into professional practice and guidance on accessing the industry. Ibrahim’s projects at BFF have included the award-winning Depot Community Cinema in Lewes and Campbeltown Picture House.

Aidan and Ibrahim were both part of the BFF design team for the recently completed major refurbishment and remodelling of the headquarters of the Royal Society of Arts in their Grade I and Grade II* buildings in John Adam Street London, an ambitious project to create an enlightenment coffeehouse. As well as providing superb coffee and excellent all-day dining, the Rawthmells Coffeehouse provides innovative spaces designed to foster collaboration.

Campbeltown Picture House shortlisted for RIBA Journal 2019 MacEwen Award

The RIBA Journal has announced that Burrell Foley Fischer’s restoration and remodelling of the Campbeltown Picture House has been included on the 13-strong shortlist for their 2019 MacEwen Award. The award recognises architecture (with engineering and landscape) for 'the common good'. It looks for "built projects that are of real and demonstrable benefit to society, something that architects are well-equipped to achieve”.

Campbeltown Picture House. Photo courtesy: Keith Hunter Photography

Campbeltown Picture House. Photo courtesy: Keith Hunter Photography

The MacEwen judges were "enchanted by both the look of this historic little seafront cinema and by what its reinvention, by a committed community business and a practice with long experience in cinema design, meant." Julia Barfield, one of the judges, remarked: ‘The revival of a little building like this jewel can do something really important to a town.’

Campbeltown 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 conservation project restored the art nouveau exterior and the historic main auditorium to its 1930s design and provided a new state of the art second screen, café, education room and other facilities.

Campbeltown Picture House. Photo courtesy: Keith Hunter Photography

Campbeltown Picture House. Photo courtesy: Keith Hunter Photography

The restoration was made possible with a major grant from 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.

Since reopening last December, the cinema 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. It has also been recognised by the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards as the Best Rescue of a Historic Building or Place 2018.

Read the full announcement here.

John Burrell becomes International Making Cities Livable Board Member

John Burrell has been invited to join the Board of International Making Cities Livable (IMCL). Founded in 1985, their biannual conference programme enables city officials, architects, planners, developers, community leaders, behavioural and public health scientists, artists and others responsible for the liveability of their cities to exchange experiences, ideas, strategies and expertise.

The IMCL movement promotes True Urbanism, prioritising time-tested principles of appropriate human scale architecture, mixed use, and a compact urban fabric of blocks, streets and vibrant active diverse public spaces, to create an authentic, inclusive, enlivened public realm.

John Burrell at the City for Tomorrow Conference 2018 in Beijing

John Burrell at the City for Tomorrow Conference 2018 in Beijing

John is a founder of Burrell Foley Fischer with specialist expertise in urban design, master-planning, working with communities, and the imaginative re-use of historic buildings and city spaces. His ongoing track record of architectural award-winning projects includes arts and urban regeneration projects and his 1986 RIBA funded research, ‘New Urban Centres in Suburbia’, and the TCPA ‘Tomorrow’s New Communities’ competition winner were based on his vision and commitment to the polycentric city model to combat sprawl.

John has taught Urban Design at many UK universities and lectured in Germany, Italy, France, USA and at the 2018 Beijing Design Week in China. Current projects under construction are based on his in-depth work and approach to augmenting, extending, remediating and greening London’s historic urban grain to make more flexible, humane spaces that when deployed London-wide would result in 250,000 new homes using only publicly owned land and without recourse to comprehensive redevelopment.

In 2018, he received the IMCL Livable Cities Honor Award in New Mexico for his work: ‘City Continuity, Community’.

Further details about IMCL can be found here http://www.livablecities.org/about

Campbeltown Picture House featured in Academy of Urbanism Journal

In a recent article for the Academy of Urbanism Journal, now available on-line, Stefanie Fischer explored how the recently completed project to conserve and develop Campbeltown Picture House, viewed alongside other initiatives in Campbeltown, serves as an example of cultural and heritage led regeneration of a town that had slipped into decline, economically and in terms of the state of its historic environment, including over 140 Listed Buildings. The article features in the 11th edition of the Academy’s journal whose theme was “Do art and culture really contribute to urbanism?”.

Photo Credit: Keith Hunter Photography

Photo Credit: Keith Hunter Photography

When Campbeltown Picture House was built in 1913, occupying a prominent position overlooking Campbeltown Harbour, Campbeltown was a thriving maritime town. It was once one of the richest towns per capita in Scotland, and its sheltered port played a key role in growing the whisky, fishing and tourism industries. However, Scotland’s 20th century industrial decline contributed to the damage to Campbeltown’s economy, and in common with the urban fabric and historic environment within the town centre, Campbeltown Picture House had fallen into disrepair.

The Centenary Project was launched to conserve the Campbeltown Picture House and to upgrade it to meet the expectations of a modern cinema operator and cinema-going audience, so as to provide it with a sustainable future. Following its completion in late 2017, it is now more than a cinema, providing a cultural, leisure, social and community hub for Campbeltown and Kintyre, and continues a tradition of cine variety, making use of the original variety stage for small scale comedy acts and amplified music performance.

Photo Credit: Keith Hunter Photography

Photo Credit: Keith Hunter Photography

The impetus for regeneration was the high level of deprivation in a remote area, a decreasing population, rising unemployment, a lack of inward investment and a lack of repairs and maintenance, resulting in deteriorating buildings. In the article Stefanie considers the impact of the project on urban and economic regeneration viewed within the context of other projects in Campbeltown, which have resulted in new market conditions, and improved townscape and facilities.

The full article can be read here.

Campbeltown Picture House longlisted for RIBA Journal 2019 MacEwen Award

The restoration and remodelling of Campbeltown Picture House by Burrell Foley Fischer has been included on the longlist for the RIBA Journal 2019 MacEwen Award. The recognises architecture (with engineering and landscape) for 'the common good'. They are “looking for built projects that are of real and demonstrable benefit to society, something that architects are well-equipped to achieve”.

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Campbeltown 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 conservation project restored the art nouveau exterior and the historic main auditorium to its 1930s design and provided 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, funded by 40 local people. Twenty years later, Gardner modernised the interior in the “atmospheric” style. Popular from the late 1920s, atmospheric cinemas transported audiences to exotic places such as European courtyards or gardens. Few now survive with Campbeltown Picture House being the only extant example in Scotland and one of only a handful in Europe.

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.

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The re-launch of the cinema marked the culmination of more than three decades of work and commitment by Campbeltown Community Business Ltd; one of the first Community Businesses in Scotland. The design team worked closely with them to develop a scheme that was affordable and would receive the support of a wide range of funders.

The impetus for regeneration in the town, was the high level of deprivation in a remote area, a decreasing population, rising unemployment, deteriorating buildings and a lack of inward investment.

The restoration was made possible with a major grant from 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.”

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Since reopening last December, the cinema 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.

In October 2018, it was voted the top independent cinema in the UK by Guardian readers who said “it has retained all of its original charm but is now a welcoming, contemporary space… a fantastic cultural hub in a remote rural area”.

The MacEwen award said “This year’s entry is especially strong and very varied, ranging from creative workspaces, loving restorations and temporary structures through affordable rural and urban housing and community hubs to large public infrastructure projects.

We had some difficulty whittling it down to the longlist of 36 you see here. From this our judges proceed to a shortlist of a baker’s dozen that we shall reveal from 14 January onwards. We start to announce our commendations from Friday 25 January and will finally unveil our overall winner on Tuesday 29 January.

Our judges are Julia Barfield, director of Marks Barfield; Yuli Cadney-Toh, architect director of BDP Bristol; Anisha Jogani, Placemaking team leader of Croydon Council; Kathy MacEwen, town planner; and Hugh Pearman, editor of the RIBA Journal.”

See the rest of the longlist here.

RTPI South East Heritage Planning Conference

John Burrell and Stefanie Fischer are to address the RTPI South East Heritage Planning Conference, on 7th December 2018, with a talk entitled ‘Heritage, Continuity and Community – Making Third Places’. Conserving and enhancing the historic environment are integral elements of sustainable development. The event, taking place at Winchester Guildhall, will focus on the role of heritage in the design and planning process, and how conservation and adaptation of the historic environment relate to people’s perception of ‘place’.

The identification of ‘third places’ was developed by Ray Oldenberg in his influential book ‘The Great Good Place’ and can be defined as the social surroundings distinct from the social environment of home—’first place’, and workplaces—’second places’. Examples of third places include churches, clubs, parks and cafes. BFF’s work has always embraced the notion of genius loci, recent examples include Rawthmells, a 21st Century Enlightenment Coffee House, at the Grade I and Grade II* headquarters of the Royal Society of Arts and the Depot Community Cinema in Lewes.

Depot Cinema, Lewes

Depot Cinema, Lewes

Using Depot Lewes as a case study, Stefanie Fischer will talk about how the project responds to the special qualities of the South Downs National Park and adapts, extends and repurposes an existing building that, while not listed, was familiar and liked by local residents. The design made a site-specific and particular response to geology, flora and local materials and craftsmanship to root the building in its locality. It provides a new gateway to Lewes and improved setting for surrounding listed buildings, including Lewes Station.

John Burrell will reflect on how since the Civic Amenities Act of 1967 the heritage and conservation lobby has, almost by default and often controversially, been the main instrument used to protect good places and to ensure that there is a measured and considered rate of development, continuity and inspired planning in our towns and cities.

This has enabled a sense of place, tradition, meaning and local culture to grow that recognises the activities and involvement of people playing their full part in generating a sense of place. One that is recognised, valued and personal to them.

Proposal for Smithfield Market by BFF

Proposal for Smithfield Market by BFF

This process does not necessarily demand the formal listing of buildings, and certainly should not prevent change or alteration. As design witness to the successful Public Inquiry, John will draw on design examples of his imaginative redeployment of historic ‘known’ places and buildings such as his alternative designs for SAVE Britain’s Heritage for the Smithfield Market, (now to be the new Museum of London and not listed), , through to his award-winning work on the groundbreaking use of listed and historic buildings and listed institutional landscapes for major new settlements of up to 10,000 people. 

Further details about the event can be found here.

John Burrell drawing to be auctioned at architectural charity fundraiser

A drawing by John Burrell is amongst 100 artworks being auctioned to raise funds for Article 25, an architectural charity. John has participated in 10 x10 since it began and this is his sixth artwork for the charity.

Article 25's vision is for a world where buildings are designed and constructed to provide sustainable solutions to disease, poverty and need. They have more than 85 projects in 34 countries, making them the biggest architectural NGO in the world. Their projects are delivered with in-country partners to ensure that local knowledge and relationships are maximised, and that projects are sustainable even after their involvement has ended.

10x10 Drawing the City London, Article 25’s flagship fundraiser, features unique pieces of art inspired by the changing landscape of the city by over 100 artists, architects and designers including Antony Gormley, David Adjaye and Richard Wright. Bids can be placed online here (https://paddle8.com/auction/article-25/), to help them continue building solutions to global problems.

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This year’s 10x10 theme focuses on London’s largest contemporary infrastructure project – the Elizabeth line. Through its development, key transport hubs along its route have transformed the urban landscape, offering London a new experience of the city. The abstracted grid of 100 squares traces the route of the Elizabeth line through central London, from Bond Street station to Liverpool Street and the City. 100 selected participants were invited to visit their allocated square and explore the journey it contains. Drawing on narratives of concealed and revealed, above and below, macro or micro, 100 imaginative artworks have come together for the event. John was given ‘Square 83’, centred on Bishopsgate and adjacent to Liverpool Street Station and the Bishopsgate Institute. 

John writes, ‘While the Elizabeth Line has been slowly edging its way under London unearthing skulls skeletons and ancient shards, (those of the terra cotta ‘terrestrial’ variety), the street life of London and its culture of historic institutions and busy people carries on. Citizens make their way through the disruption, keeping the everyday street life on the move as best they can. Multi-storey buildings arrive and ‘land’ as 'near misses’ on a seemingly daily basis just sparing the remaining fragments of the historic city. New floor-plates are piled sky high providing workspace for the incomers arriving daily from the capital’s outer zones and beyond’. Artwork courtesy of John Burrell.

John writes, ‘While the Elizabeth Line has been slowly edging its way under London unearthing skulls skeletons and ancient shards, (those of the terra cotta ‘terrestrial’ variety), the street life of London and its culture of historic institutions and busy people carries on. Citizens make their way through the disruption, keeping the everyday street life on the move as best they can. Multi-storey buildings arrive and ‘land’ as 'near misses’ on a seemingly daily basis just sparing the remaining fragments of the historic city. New floor-plates are piled sky high providing workspace for the incomers arriving daily from the capital’s outer zones and beyond’. Artwork courtesy of John Burrell.

Depot, Lewes wins National LABC Building Excellence Award

The Depot in Lewes was announced as the winner of the Best Public Service Building at the Grand Finals of the 2018 LABC Building Excellence Awards, held on Friday evening. As the winner earlier this year of the South East Regional Award, is was judged against the category winners for each of the other eleven regions and awarded the national prize.

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The Depot is a new three-screen community cinema, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer, on the site of the modest but much loved existing warehouse of the old Harvey’s 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.

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The Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Building Excellence Awards showcase buildings and design teams that have had to tackle tussle with complex technical or construction issues and building site constraints.  They highlight innovative and creative solutions and building control professionalism that leads to safe, sustainable and high quality construction projects.

A panel of industry experts judged a shortlist of the highest quality projects from around England and Wales to reward the best in technical innovation, sustainability and design. The panel of expert judges said “The Depot is a lively cinema hub with exhibition space, café and restaurant. Its design and innovative use of technology ensures it’s fully inclusive for the whole community. External lighting minimises light pollution and the extensive green roof of local plants responds to the special character of the South Downs.”    

After the award was announced @LewesDepot tweeted “Thank you @BFFarchitects – our community in #Lewes is fortunate indeed to have such a beautifully designed building”.

Documenting a transition: how Harvey’s Depot became a state-of-the-art cinema

Photographer Carlotta Luke is giving an illustrated talk on the transformation of the former Harvey’s Depot in Lewes into an award-winning community cinema.  Carlotta spent two years documenting the build and will be presenting a selection of her favourite images at the Paddock Art Studios, Lewes on 10th November at 3pm.

Photo courtesy: Carlotta Luke

Photo courtesy: Carlotta Luke

The Depot is a new three-screen community cinema on the site of the modest but much-loved existing warehouse of the old Harvey’s brewery depot. 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.

Speaking to Viva Lewes magazine, which this month features a selection of her photos, Carlotta said “I heard about plans for a new cinema and wanted to get involved in the best way I know how – with my camera. I suggested to director and programmer Carmen Slijpen that monthly site visits would provide her with images she could use to publicise the building’s progress and the project. Luckily for me she agreed.”

Read the current issue of Viva Lewes magazine here and see more of Carlotta’s work on the Depot here.

Photo courtesy: Carlotta Luke

Photo courtesy: Carlotta Luke

As architects for the Depot cinema in Lewes, we enjoyed Carlotta’s photographs taken throughout the construction period, as they constantly revealed the building in new ways.  Her wonderful pictures not only provide a historic record of the physical progress of the build, but also of the personal contribution of so many individuals that it takes to deliver a building of this quality, including designers, contractors and specialist craftsmen.

Photo courtesy: Carlotta Luke

Photo courtesy: Carlotta Luke

Three independent cinemas designed by Burrell Foley Fischer amongst top ten recommendations by Guardian readers

The Guardian recently asked their readers to recommend independent cinemas and over 1,500 of them responded. The top ten recommendations included three cinemas designed by Burrell Foley Fischer; Campbeltown Picture House, Lewes Depot and Newlyn Filmhouse. Read the recommendations on the Guardian here.

Burrell Foley Fischer are widely acknowledged as a leader in modern cinema design and in particular in the development of a new breed of urban cinemas. Our specialist knowledge of the film sector is underpinned by over 30 years’ experience working for independent cinema operators, regional film theatres and community arts cinemas. The refurbishment and remodelling of cinemas in listed buildings, to meet the expectations of a modern cinemagoing audience whilst respecting the historic integrity of the building, is a particular speciality of the practice.

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Campbeltown Picture House: “Winning tip: Peninsular pictures, Argyll & Bute”

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 conservation project, led by Burrell Foley Fischer, restored the art nouveau exterior and the historic main auditorium to its 1930s design, and provided a new state of the art second screen, café, education room and other facilities. campbeltownpicturehouse.co.uk

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Lewes Depot: “Depot delight, East Sussex”

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. lewesdepot.org

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Newlyn Filmhouse: “Soho on sea, Cornwall”

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. newlynfilmhouse.com

Drone footage of New Boarding House at Tring Park School under construction

Tring Park School have released drone footage of their New Boarding House, currently under construction, and designed by Burrell Foley Fischer. The short film is by MacMac Photography.

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The £5.9m building, due for completion in spring 2019, consisting of three floors plus a lower ground floor, will contain a state-of-the-art boarding house for 70 pupils, six academic and vocational teaching spaces, a theatre workshop and other valuable pupil facilities.

Rawthmells 21st Century Enlightenment Coffeehouse opens at the Royal Society of Arts

The refurbishment and remodelling of the headquarters of the Royal Society of Arts in the Grade I and Grade II* buildings in John Adam Street London, has been an ambitious project to create an enlightenment coffeehouse. The aspiration is for it to foster the creative thinking and collaborative action needed to address the challenges of the 21st Century.

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Coffeehouses, first established in the 17th and 18th centuries, were places where, for the price of a cup of coffee, people could meet to share ideas. The RSA was established in an enlightenment coffeehouse, named Rawthmells, in 1754 by a group of people with a shared vision for a better tomorrow. Like the original coffeehouse, they want their 21st-century version to be a place where individuals become part of a greater movement for social change – a natural home for anyone who wants to change the world. They see it as somewhere that enables people to connect, share knowledge, collaborate, and build new communities to tackle the social challenges of our time.

Burrell Foley Fischer were appointed as architects to address the challenge of meeting the RSA’s vision through transformative change of two mezzanine levels, with low ceilings and low levels of light, situated between the ground floor and basement vaults. The former small cellular rooms have been connected to establish an enfilade series of spaces for all-day dining, collaboration and quiet reflection.  

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The coffeehouse will connect stimulated minds with the lively exchange of ideas in a creative environment dedicated to progressive social change. A Hellerup staircase connects the two mezzanine levels and forms the centrepiece of the coffee house. The wide, wooden steps of the Hellerup can also be used as seating, converting the space into an auditorium, where public speaking, debate and discussion amongst coffeehouse guests will be actively encouraged. Through the RSA's existing digital platforms, the auditorium will be plugged into their global network.

As well as providing superb coffee (the jet fuel for enlightened thinking) and excellent all-day dining, the coffeehouse will also provide innovative spaces designed to foster collaboration. The original enlightenment coffeehouses were shaped by the people who frequented them, and the RSA coffeehouse will be no different.

Campbeltown Picture House wins 2018 Scottish Heritage Angel Award

The restoration and remodelling of the Campbelltown Picture House has been awarded Best Rescue of a Historic Building or Place (for projects over £2m) at the 2018 Scottish Heritage Angel Awards. The award was collected by Jane Mayo, Chairman of the Picture House at a ceremony held at Glasgow City Chambers.

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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 conservation project, led by Burrell Foley Fischer, restored the art nouveau exterior and the historic main auditorium to its 1930s design, and provided 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.

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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.

Jane and David Mayo collecting the award

Jane and David Mayo collecting the award

The re-launch of the cinema marked 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.

Launched in 2014, funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, and run by the Scottish Civic Trust in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland and Archaeology Scotland, the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards celebrates both groups and individuals who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to promote, protect and, in many cases, rescue Scotland’s heritage.

Topping Out Ceremony for New Boarding House at Tring Park School

At Tring Park School, a key milestone has been reached in the construction of new boarding house and teaching facilities, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer. A ceremony has been held at the school to mark the topping-out of their new facilities. Construction company Stepnell was joined by the school's staff and its head boy and head girl.

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The £5.9m building, due for completion in spring 2019, consisting of three floors plus a lower ground floor, will contain a state-of-the-art boarding house for 70 pupils, six academic and vocational teaching spaces, a theatre workshop and other valuable pupil facilities.

Jamie White, contracts manager at Stepnell, said: "We're delighted to have reached this significant milestone in the construction of this fantastic new accommodation which will be a great addition to the school. Reaching the topping out is a proud moment for everyone involved in the project as the building really starts to take shape."

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Tring Park School is set within the historic context of Registered Parks and Gardens and Grade II* listed buildings in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The new building, is the next phase of the implementation of Burrell Foley Fischer’s masterplan for the school, which began with Park Studios, five new build studios for dance and performing arts. The design of the studios was rooted in the site's Chiltern context, taking a holistic approach, not only to the specific environmental conditions of its users, but the also the relationship between dominant historic buildings and green landscaped setting. The School’s extensive development needs risked upsetting this balance between house and garden. 

The new masterplan blends the new developments into the landscape, while forming a more collegiate framework with the existing buildings. The green elevations of the new buildings are dressed in the same informal architectural language of randomly spaced cedar posts as the original Park Studios forming a coherent relationship between old and new buildings and green spaces.

Anselm Barker, deputy principal, says: “The pupils and staff at Tring Park School have been thrilled to watch the new building grow so quickly and we are delighted to have reached the end of this significant stage of construction. We eagerly look forward to moving into the new building and making the most of this new facility which will significantly enhance our community.”

When does community consultation make a real – not token – difference to the scheme delivered?

John Burrell will be joining Andrew Simpson, Managing Director of Dominic Lawson Bespoke Planning (DLBP) at the White Paper Conference “How to Operate Skilfully and Advantageously within the Planning System” at the Caledonian Club, London.

Andrew and John will be discussing, using real examples from the work of both practices, “When does community consultation make a real – not token – difference to the scheme delivered?” 

Community Consultation for London Borough of Islington

Community Consultation for London Borough of Islington

Burrell Foley Fischer pioneered doing more than just consultation. The granting of funds by the RIBA, under the Community Initiative Awards Scheme, to residents in Brixton enabled them to engage John Burrell and his team to work with the whole community and individuals to evolve the best brief and solutions, all as part of a two-way dialogue. This ethos of grounding and communicating ideas and options has continued and has become one of the hallmarks of the practice. BFF’s work continues to be predominantly for the users of the buildings they design and part of a long-term relationship and engagement.