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Cinema nouveau: Burrell Foley Fischer restores Campbeltown Picture House

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The expansion of the local landmark was undertaken in celebration of its centenary

Originally designed by Albert Victor Gardner in 1913 in the Art Nouveau style, the Campbeltown Picture House overlooks Campbeltown Harbour, in the Campbeltown conservation area.

For the cinema’s centenary, work was undertaken to conserve the heritage of the original building while also upgrading it to meet the expectations of a modern cinema. A new entrance foyer has been added, along with a new screen, built to the rear of the original building.

The vision was for the Campbeltown Picture House to be ’more than a cinema’, providing a cultural, leisure, social and community hub for Campbeltown and Kintyre, and to continue a tradition of using the original variety stage for small-scale comedy acts and music performances.

Cph 1217 0016

Cph 1217 0016

Architect’s view

The prominent and distinctive presence of the Campbeltown Picture House now reasserts itself on the harbour and continues its history of cinema exhibition, while providing enhanced opportunities for local residents and visitors to interpret its architectural and historical significance.

There is level access from the new entrance foyer to the stalls level of the restored historic ‘atmospheric style’ cinema auditorium and a new Screen 2, which has been built in a courtyard to the rear of the historic cinema building. The provision of two screens allows greater programme diversity, attracts younger audience members, and helps secure a sustainable future for Campbeltown Picture House, as a cinema and cultural hub for Kintyre.

Image and sound quality, and comfort levels in both cinemas now match the expectations of a modern cinema-going audience. The seats selected for Screen 1 are classic in appearance, but ergonomically designed with comfort in mind. The design of Screen 2 does not seek to replicate the 1934 atmospheric cinema interior of Screen 1, and is a more contemporary cinema interior.

Cph 1217 0229

Cph 1217 0229

The original foyer has been brought into use as an exhibition space within which is a display of material aiding interpretation of the heritage of the building. A new welcoming and accessible entrance is formed in the gap between the historic cinema building and annexe, also included on the Statutory List as Category A.

The original function of the annexe was to provide shelter to cinema-goers wanting to buy tickets from the ticket kiosk located within the small entrance foyer open to the elements. The annexe is now brought into use as the new sales point for tickets, food and drinks and as a café/bar with views over the harbour.

Opening off the linear foyer, and separated from it by a glazed folding screen, is a multi-use space that can be used variously as an extension of the foyer; space that can be used during intervals for events cinema screenings; an exhibition space; an education space; a bookable community room; and green room in support of comedy acts or amplified music performances on the stage of Screen 1.

1. ground floor plan

1. ground floor plan

Project data

Start on site 16 February 2016
Completion 14 January 2018
Gross internal floor area 654m2
Form of contract or procurement route Standard Building Contract with Quantities for Use in Scotland
Construction cost £2.5 million
Construction cost per m2
 £ 3,000
Burrell Foley Fischer
Client Campbeltown Picture House
Structural engineer David Narro Associates
M&E consultant Irons Foulner Consulting Engineers
Quantity surveyor / cost consultant Morham & Brotchie Ltd
Acoustics consultant Arup
Cinema technical consultant ARC Cinema Solutions Ltd
Project manager Ron Inglis, Craigmount Consulting
CDM coordinator
 PFB Consulting
Approved building inspector 
Argyll & Bute Council
Main contractor Corramore Construction
CAD software used 
Annual CO2 emissions 17.02 kg/m2 

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