Glasgow Film Theatre - Completion Project
In 2011, The Glasgow Film Theatre embarked on its phased journey to deliver a masterplan vision for a significant refurbishment to the much-loved category b-listed building and former 1930’s James McKissack’s cinema building. Key to the first phase alteration works, complete in late 2013, was the introduction of a new entrance box office facility and a careful insertion of a new sixty seat digital auditorium space. The second phase, what we call the completion project, focuses on the transformation and re-interpretation of all the internal spaces out-with the three principle auditoriums and finally constructs the phased masterplan vision set by the GFT in 2011. The major alterations are carried out to both the public and private areas throughout the cinema building. The refurbishment inserts a suite of new contemporary interiors detailed and enriched by a carefully selected material palatte.
Spatially the project focuses around the creation a new foyer or ‘new room in the city’ that generates a distinctive operational space to organise, keep queues out from the rain, and helps direct film goers around the building while equally offering a flexible slip-out space out with the auditoriums for users to meet, to gather and to relax.
The project has allowed inspired opportunity to exploit design ideas, material selection of timber, insitu-terrazzo, mirror & brass, a series bespoke joinery elements and the play and composition of details. The Client’s vision from the outset required a highly functional and flexible re-organisation but prescribed an overarching robustness and sense of quality to the design and in the spirit of an ‘art-house’ cinema. The Glasgow Film Theatre has an inherently rich and much-loved heritage which informed the importance that our approach and attitude to the design should respect this wider perception while presented something new but familiar.
The most formal element to the works is the creation of a new double stairway leading up to the first floor bar and main cinema 1 screen. Our idea, and as a single central piece of drama or ‘theatre’ to the project, re-introduced and reinterprets the cinema’s original 1930’s butterfly staircase as a new architectural device of movement.
The essence of the project aids to tackle ‘Access for All’ improving accessibility, circulation and way-finding throughout the building. The key elements to the refurbishment project, alongside the creation new bar areas, seating areas and new toilets, importantly introduces a new accessible public platform lift providing, for the first time, access to all the upper levels.
The project is very much an exercise in interior design with a play on architectural devices manipulating volumes, screening and distribution of light. However equally understands and responds to the day to day functional needs and flexibility requirements of the client’s operations. Areas of detail can also be found throughout adding layers of interest such as a new precast contemporary ‘Cinema of All’ brass foyer globe and a series screen-printed walls panels illustrating the ‘Evolution of the bowler-hatted Mr Cosmo’ all offering a subtle nod to a heritage past – A familiar sight to newspaper advertisements of the time.
To the upper levels, the more private area, focuses around new front of house office space and staff areas but moreover offers a new facility of a fit-for-purpose education ‘Project Room’ equipped fully for screenings, gaming, commercial hire and specifically housing further education film training and academic outreach programmes.
The success of the project involved managing the complexities of marrying an existing building with a newly expanded programme. The project, constructed as a phased development during the‘day to day’ operations of a listed building, deals with complex acoustic performance and functional requirements of such a demanding arts, leisure and education space as well as offering an improved accessible and aided environment.