historic buildings

Cambridge Arts Theatre receives Commendation at Awards Ceremony

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

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

The Campaign to Save Norton Folgate

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

Norton Folgate as it is today

Norton Folgate as it is today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heritage Lottery Fund awards funding to Campbeltown Picture House

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

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

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

Photo: Sarah MacDonald Photography

Photo: Sarah MacDonald Photography

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

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

Campbeltown Picture House to receive funding from Creative Scotland

Congratulations to The Picture House Campbeltown on the award of £433,000 from Creative Scotland towards the restoration and upgrading of the Listed Grade A cinema, one of the UK’s oldest.

Campbeltown Picture House, which first opened its doors in 1913, will be restored and a second screen and modern café and foyer area will be created. Burrell Foley Fischer have designed the refurbishment and remodelling of the cinema. Refurbishment will recognise and maintain the historic nature of the A listed auditorium protecting its cultural heritage whilst also meeting the expectations of a modern cinema going audience, enabling the cinema to increase the diversity of programming within this rural part of the West of Scotland.

Jane Mayo, chair of Campbeltown Community Business, said:

“The redeveloped Picture House will provide the local community and visitors with a magnificent historic cinema equipped to modern standards and complemented by new facilities. The programme of films and live relays of international quality cultural performances, together with activities based on the heritage of the building and the evolution of cinema, will allow The Picture House truly to become Kintyre’s cultural and entertainment hub. The reopened cinema will provide employment and play an important part in the promotion of Kintyre as a unique visitor destination.”

Breaking News - Smithfield Market Plans rejected by Communities Secretary

Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, has rejected the proposal to build new office blocks at Smithfield Market retaining only the facades.

Burrell Foley Fischer prepared alternative plans for the redevelopment of London’s Smithfield Market, for SAVE Britain's Heritage and the Victorian Society.  The scheme proposes the restoration of the existing 19th Century Buildings to form a new cultural and retail hub, to complement the already burgeoning “Smithfield Quarter’. 

The impressive roofs of Smithfield General Market would be retained as a fantastic canopy and creating a beautiful light-filled interior.  The scheme makes available large areas, at multiple levels, without the addition of intrusive blocks.  The very extensive basement areas are brought into use as spaces for exhibition galleries, fashion shows and lecture halls. 

The successful outcome of the Pubic Inquiry follows two years of campaigning work involving BFF. This started when SAVE first asked John Burrell to look at the project in 2012. He immediately realised that it was not just the street facades that were important but also the magnificent formal roof structure covering the interior market spaces, and the spatial and development potential of the vast basements that originally linked Farringdon and Barbican stations which are hidden from view. 

BFF showed that was not necessary to demolish the above ground structures in a futile attempt to make a 'conventional' development site because the real value, interest  and 'cache' was embodied in the existing buildings, their street connections and the huge relatively uncontentious potential and value of below ground spaces, especially with the new Crossrail platforms soon to be  close by.

The campaigning document produced for SAVE by BFF showed how the street spaces around the market can become the focus of a major new urban space in London affirming the identity of the Smithfield quarter and its street life that is already underway.  John presented this evidence to the Public Inquiry.

BFF appointed as architects for The Picture House Campbeltown

We are delighted to announce that we have been appointed as architects for the refurbishment and redevelopment of the Picture House, Campbeltown, on the West Coast of Scotland.

The Picture House is community owned and run, and is the oldest purpose built cinema in Scotland still showing films. It was established in 1913 and has now launched a "Centenary Project" to breathe new life into its historic building, which is Listed Grade A. The unique interior will be refurbished to bring it up to the standards expected of a modern cinema going audience, whilst respecting the historic building in which it is housed. Enhanced front of house facilities will be provided and the feasibility of a second cinema auditorium will be investigated.

BFF worked, with the cinema's owners and operators, on an initial scheme design that contributed to a successful first stage bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Following a competitive process, we have now been appointed to lead the design work for the refurbishment project. Through our long association with many independent cinemas throughout the UK, we are very aware of the importance of these venues to their local communities and we are delighted to be able to contribute to the future of such an historically important and much loved cinema.

Jane Mayo, Chairman of Campbeltown Community Business, said:       

"The Board of CCB is very excited that it has been able to assemble such an outstanding design team. The fact that such excellent specialists have committed themselves to this important project to restore and enhance our historic building, emphasises the importance of the cinema not only to its local community but also nationally within Scotland, the United Kingdom and even on the world stage."

BFF Projects receive Arts Council Funding

Two of our projects, The Cambridge Arts Theatre and Broadway, Nottingham’s Media Centre, have been successful with their application to Arts Council England for capital funding for their redevelopment plans.

Cambridge Arts Theatre
Cambridge Arts Theatre will redevelop and extend its current impractical foyer facilities to provide new public entrances, a new box office and significantly extend bar and hospitality spaces. This will greatly increase the Theatre’s financial sustainability and resilience and provide an open and welcoming entrance for its audiences.

Broadway, Nottingham's Media Centre
Funding will improve Broadway’s facilities and resources to establish it as the lead centre for creative media in central England. The work will result in more efficient and effective use of Broadway’s existing building, focusing primarily on improvements to floor space on its lower ground level.

Smithfield Market - A New Vision

SAVE Britain’s Heritage are today revealing an alternative plans for the redevelopment of London’s Smithfield Market, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer.  The scheme proposes the restoration of the existing 19th Century Buildings to form a new cultural and retail hub, to complement the already burgeoning “Smithfield Quarter’.  It will also complement the new travel hub, which will provide rail access to six airports.   
The impressive roofs of Smithfield General Market would be retained as a fantastic canopy and creating a beautiful light-filled interior.  The scheme makes available large areas, at multiple levels, without the addition of intrusive blocks.  The very extensive basement areas are brought into use as spaces for exhibition galleries, fashion shows and lecture halls. 

Marcus Binney, the President of Save Britain’s Heritage, says “The Smithfield quarter, like Covent Garden before it, has come to life thanks to natural regeneration as small businesses have colonised every vacated premise in the streets around the market buildings.  This is creating one of central London’s liveliest districts, full of both traditional character and new life.  Wake up City planners and Alderman!  Smithfield Market ranks as one of London’s chief public spaces that could be serving the city and its visitors, as the capital’s newest hub.”

See the full details of the SAVE/BFF scheme here

The Crucible nominated for People's Choice Design Award

The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, refurbished by Burrell Foley Fischer, has been nominated in the Sheffield Civic Trust and RIBA Yorkshire 2012 Sheffield Design Awards for the People's Choice Award.  The people of Sheffield are invited to vote for their choice of the best new building in the city.  The results will be announced at a ceremony on 27 November.

Visit the Sheffield Design Awards Website here

SAVE Britain's Heritage Campaigns to save Smithfield General Market

SAVE Britain's Heritage have spoken out against a scheme that they say will destroy Smithfield General Market, part of what SAVE president Marcus Binney describes as "the grandest parade of market buildings in Europe".  Burrell Foley Fischer are currently working with SAVE to develop an alternative proposal.

Learn more about the SAVE campaign here

Read the Guardian's view on the proposals here

Prince Philip opens the new Forum for the Royal Academy of Engineering

Stefanie Fischer and Martyn Clark were amongst the guests for a "Celebration of Engineering" and the naming of Prince Philip House on Tuesday.  Prince Philip, the Senior Fellow of the Academy, performed the ceremony and unveiled a new triptych portrait of himself, painted by Paul Brason, which will hang in the refurbished building.  

The Duke was then invited to survey the rooms containing displays of great engineering feats including a Rolls-Royce fan blade, spray-on clothing and robotic sea creatures.

Read the report on the event in Conference News

Visit BFF Projects as part of Open House London 2012

Once again it will be possible to visit a number of BFF's projects in London as part of Open House London.  There is a chance to visit the magnificent Grade I listed headquarters of the Royal Society in Carlton House Terrace, two of our cinemas Stratford Picturehouse and the Cine Lumiere in Kensington, and the Almeida Theatre in Islington. Open House takes place on 22 and 23 September.  Please visit their website for further details using the links below.

Stratford Picturehouse

BFF designed this purpose built four-screen cinema with exhibition, cafe bar and restaurant facilities.

Details of Open House - Stratford Picturehouse

The Royal Society

BFF were responsible for the refurbishment and remodeling of the Grade I Listed Nash building in Carlton House Terrace. 

Details of Open House - The Royal Society

The Almeida

BFF have been the theatre's architects since 1982, shortly after its inception, and have been responsible for the refurbishment and remodeling of the building, Listed Grade II, including a new extension.

Details of Open House - The Almeida

Cine Lumiere

BFF were responsible for the refurbishment of the Listed Grade II Art Deco cinema at the Institut Francais in South Kensington.

Details of Open House - Cine Lumiere

BFF 30th Anniversary - New Theatre Royal Portsmouth

The New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth is a Listed Grade II* Theatre, originally designed by Charles Phipps as a Variety Theatre and subsequently remodelled by Frank Matcham as an Opera House.

Burrell Foley Fischer’s restoration comprised the refurbishment of the historic, predominately cast iron, front elevation and remodelling of the auditorium, to include a thrust stage, stalls seating and bringing into use the grand circle and upper circle levels. It received the  “Best Restoration Award – 2005” by the Portsmouth Society.

BFF 30th Anniversary - Academy of Medical Sciences

Burrell Foley Fischer’s refurbishment and remodelling of 41 Portland Place created new headquarters for the Academy of Medical Sciences.  The building is a significant example of a townhouse designed by John Adams and forms part of a Nash’s proposal to create a processional route linking Regent’s Park to former Carlton House, now Carlton House Terrace. 

The building provides a platform for Academy activities.  This includes Academy workspace, meeting rooms, a dedicated room for Fellows, space for small public exhibitions and function rooms with the capacity to host outreach events, receptions, dinners and public engagement activities, and a room suitable for holding press conferences.

In addition to housing the activities of the Academy, the building is used to provide a forum for scientific exchange and networking for medical scientists, clinicians and health professionals from across the world, a centre for lively interaction with press and media, and a welcoming space for members of the public. 

BFF 30th Anniversary - Mary Rose, The Final Voyage

Competition entry for a world-leading museum on the Tudor Navy, based upon the re-uniting of the hull of Henry VIII's flagship, which sunk in the Solent in 1545, with the thousands of conserved objects salvaged from the wreck when it was raised in 1982.

Burrell Foley Fischer’s scheme was designed to protect the Mary Rose in an iconic new home, with a new enclosure to see it, and HMS Victory, all year round.  The site would be restored to a harbourside, with the heritage enhanced and providing a stunning new setting for historic ships.
The structure minimised the final volume requiring critical environmental control and allowed for progressive enclosure, using off site prefabrication.

Broadway Nottingham featured in Guardian Cine-files

Broadway, Nottingham's Media Centre, is the latest of Burrell Foley Fischer's cinema projects to receive the Guardian Cine-files stamp of approval.  The cinema is described as having 

"an environment that is unique yet comfortable without trying too hard".

"I'm biased, having spent my entire life in Nottingham, but Broadway is probably the best cinema in the UK".

Read the full Guardian feature here

BFF 30th Anniversary - The Almeida Theatre, Islington

Burrell Foley Fischer LLP have been the Almeida’s architects from 1982, shortly after its inception as a theatre in 1980, working with successive generations of Directors.  The Theatre has been developed into a venue of exceptional quality for the performance of drama, opera and music, and for other related arts activities.

Despite its modest size, the space works equally well for performances on an epic scale as for intimate productions.  The audience occupies the same space as the performers and neither is further than twelve metres from the other.

Development works have included extending the backstage accommodation, the building of completely new foyer, bar and technical areas, new services installations and seating, and improved disabled access and acoustics.  The new foyer continues the theme of the former open-air yard where, because of limited site access, the single entrance is used as the foyer for the theatre-goers and as the space for the technical get-ins.

The extensive overhaul of the auditorium, seating capacity 321, has preserved the special ‘found’ quality of the Theatre.  It was awarded a Civic Trust Award 2004.

Robin Fischer the lighting technician at the Almeida has created this short film showing the development of the theatre.

BFF 30th Anniversary - The Royal Society

Since 1999 BFF have worked with the Royal Society on the refurbishment and remodeling of its headquarters at 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London.

In 1999 to 2003, we undertook a major refurbishment of this Listed Grade 1 Nash Building to provide a coherent, high profile, architectural setting for the society’s activities. The completed development provided additional facilities for exhibitions, scientific meetings, seminars, media events and video conferencing.

A key intervention was the creation of a new atrium in a former light well on the upper levels as a focus to the new offices and providing space to display an engineering model of the Ariel 1 Satellite.

In 2008 the Practice was responsible for the refurbishment of the Welcome Trust Lecture Theatre which now provides modern lecture facilities, with accommodation for an audience of 300 and of the Dining Room which has a seating capacity of 100 but is also a flexible space that can itself be used for smaller lectures or as an overflow space for the main lecture theatre.

Most recently, in 2009, we were architects for the Royal Society Centre for the History of Science which was created following the refurbishment of the space previously occupied by its library in Carlton House Terrace.  The refurbishment provides study, exhibition and meeting facilities, in an atmosphere that reflects the Society’s commitment to excellence and inspiration whilst equally providing for the safe-keeping of the collections.

BFF 30th Anniversary - Palace Theatre, Watford

Burrell Foley Fischer's redevelopment of the Palace Theatre, Watford was completed in 2004.  The building is made up of two distinct parts, the Listed Grade II Edwardian theatre originally designed by W.A. Theobold around the turn of the century and extended in 1910 by Wilson & Long, and a 1980s extension built as part of an office redevelopment on the adjacent site.

In the original theatre building, the stage house was completely rebuilt to provide a more generously proportioned partner to the 660 seat auditorium, which itself was remodelled to ‘close in’ the wide and Spartan side elevations and extended recess of the gallery.  Additionally, the seating rakes and layout arrangements were improved at stalls, circle and gallery levels.  The backstage areas were also completely rebuilt.

In the undistinguished 1980s extension, a vertical slot between the old and new parts of the venue defines the junction between foyer areas and historic auditorium spanned by bridges reaching between the two halves.  All front-of-house areas, access stairs and lift, and circulation and foyer spaces were rearranged and remodelled, opening up the front elevation to present dramatic new views of the public areas from the street.