Assaels Grand Regeneration of Clapham Cinema

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Assaels Grand Regeneration of Clapham Cinema

Post by Mr007 on Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:12 am

Assaels Grand Regeneration of Clapham Cinema

One of the most glamourous eras of entertainment was the golden age of cinema. Whilst some names like Odeon still live on today the experience that people enjoyed in the hungry thirties and fighting forties has long since gone given many a British high street the challenge of what to do with the enormous, and often listed art deco playhouses that the age threw up.

One of the most notable examples of this is the Clapham Granada Cinema in south London, a grade 2 listed building that originally opened in 1937. Designed inside by famous cinema architect Thomas Komisarjevsky, it features a curving brick art deco exterior and a sumptuous but much neglected neo-classical auditorium.

For many years the building has been on the English Heritage "at risk" register whilst a series of owners have grappled with the problem of how to deal with it. They can't knock it down, and they can't gut it either as it is the interior that makes it so important.

Grange Properties, the latest owner, have hired Assael Architecture who have come up with what is a unique solution to the problem - that of retaining and restoring the main hall whilst adapting the structure around it to accommodate 59 new apartments.

Part of this includes adding two new floors of apartments with floor to ceiling glazing above the existing roof line whilst the original fly tower and north face of the building, both considered nondescript enough to be extensively modified, will also get residential units.

Supporting the extra two floors on the roof will be a series of structural trusses that can be built over and around the cinema hall so as to leave it visually intact.
Plans show that the residential development will internally divide the building into two also retaining a number of other rooms related to the cinema including some entrance halls and the projection room so it can operate as a working theatre.

All of this will allow the developer to create what will be one of the few authentic experiences of cinema in London that has managed to not only secure the support of the likes of the 20th Century Society and English Heritage but also get approved by local Wandsworth Council where all previous redevelopment plans failed.

In a city of over 7 million people, it should prove a popular experience of nostalgia for film fans whilst offering a collection of unique apartments for those who want to live there that will be finished in 2008 if everything goes according to plan.

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