The proposal sets out to renew a historic cinema for all, negotiating major challenges of conservation, access and sustainability. Situated in a lively, multicultural area, with a big student population, the Hyde Park Picture House is a much loved institution. Loyal regulars put up with inconveniences and discomfort because film is at the heart of the Hyde Park, and the Hyde Park is at the heart of the area. Far from an impersonal multi-plex, the Hyde Park Picture House prides itself on its personal service. What other cinema provides booster seats? Where else would cinema staff nip out for soymilk for a lactose-intolerant customer?
The proposal balances three key elements to deliver an enhanced social space and community asset; the refurbishment of the existing fabric, new build addition and devleopment of basement to diversify the offer. The Hyde Park Picture House has a number of particular considerations specific to its listed status, and the perception of the building by its neighbours, regulars and future visitors.The corner site and semi-circular open lobby with columns, moulded cornice and entablature with raised lettering is iconic. Development of the design will need to carefully respect and preserve this historic character, being mindful not to undermine its visual integrity whilst adapting the access and entrance sequence. Adapting the building to ensure more people can enjoy the Hyde Park experience, altering access levels and providing a strong visitor experience so that visitors are aware of the enhanced facilities available will be key to achieving a successful outcome. The extended opportunities for film education and film archiving will enhance the experience of film lovers and open up the building for new generations, adding vibrancy and vitality to the already brilliant Hyde Park. The provision of new basement accommodation should integrate with the entrance sequence and not feel isolated and separate. This work should solve existing building fabric problems such as rising damp and acoustic isolation.
“Our approach is to be flexible, open, explorative and to put people first to ensure that the design proposals are welcomed by the friends of Hyde Park and become an exemplar for future Heritage Lottery schemes. We want the generation who are now in nappies to enjoy the Hyde Park for decades to come.”