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’.
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.
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.”