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Government cancels BFI film centre

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The government has pulled its £45 million contribution to the British Film Institute’s (BFI) new film centre project on London’s south bank

The AJ understands the £166 million scheme to build a new BFI home is unlikely to proceed without this chunk of funding.

The BFI however confirmed that it remained committed to the project. Its statement read: ‘We had already anticipated that the Government would not be able to afford investment in the BFI Film Centre at this time and knew that we would face a challenge on the project, but we remain committed to taking it forward.

‘We are relieved that vital monies to save the BFI National Collections are secure.’

Ed Vaizey, minister for the creative industries, said: ‘It is obviously disappointing that the severe financial problems facing Britain mean that the Government can’t contribute at present to the BFI Film Centre.

‘Although we are unable to commit to some large scale capital investment projects while tackling this unprecedented deficit, I want to make sure that we are supporting the film industry, and that we make sure every pound of public money we spend gives the maximum benefit.’

BFI began its hunt for a design team for the job barely two months ago. The deadline for expressions of interest passed on Monday (14 June).

A BFI archive digital access sub-project costing  £2.5 million was also cancelled.


Previous story (26.04.10)

Major contest launched for new BFI film centre

The British Film Institute (BFI) has begun its hunt for an architect to design its ‘ambitious’ new Film Centre on London’s South Bank

The BFI had previously worked with Stirling Prize-winner David Chipperfield on proposals to build a facility on its Hungerford car park plot. However, those plans (see below) were quietly shelved and the institute is now looking for a new design team to build a ‘national film and television centre’ – a project understood to be worth around £160 million.

According to the institute, an OJEU notice will be published later today inviting expressions of interest from architects.

The successful architect will help to select the rest of the design team, including civil and structural engineers, mechanical and electrical engineering consultants and other specialists.

A shortlist is expected to be unveiled in August with the winner appointed in November 2010.

Search OJEU notices here.

Previous story (30.10.09)

The End for Chipperfield’s British Film Institute plans

David Chipperfield’s plans for the BFI have finally been sunk after the organisation announced it was launching a contest for a new facility on its Hungerford car park plot

The Stirling Prize-winning architect (pictured) landed a scheme to relocate the institute to the nearby site on London’s South Bank following a competition in 2001.

However, the BFI has now said, having recently bagged £45 million of government cash, that it was intending to press on with plans to look for a new design team to build the £166 million national film and television centre.

According to sources at the BFI, the decision to reconsider Chipperfield’s proposals was made back in August 2006 when the institute carried out ‘a feasibility and options appraisal’ looking at a number of potential sites around London, including a possible move to King’s Cross.

That study, which was carried out by Grimshaw and backed by the London Development Agency, came back with the same findings – that the best location for the new film centre was on the Hungerford Car Park next to Jubilee Gardens.

A spokesperson explained the process: ‘[In 2006] we tendered for an architect to undertake the options appraisal work, which included developing an outline client brief and the resultant volumetric study for alternate sites.

‘A number of architects were shortlisted, including Chipperfield who had applied along with others.’

Following this ‘volumetric study’ which pin-pointed the BFI’s preferred site, the institute claims it decided to ‘procure the full design team’ through competition.

A spokesperson added: ‘Architects who have previously worked with the BFI will of course be welcome to participate in the competition which will be launched next year (2010).’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • And this is why 99% of Chipperfied's great work isn't in his home country...it's a real shame, he's arguably one of the best British Architects around.

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