Film and Visual Media Research Centre in London
The Bloomsbury area of Central London is home to some of the prestigious colleges of the University of London. Some of the estate is characterized by Georgian terraced houses that have been badly converted into rat runs of corridors and tiny offices subpided from once elegant reception rooms. One of the colleges, Birkbeck, has taken a brave step to address some of these issues by commissioning Surface Architects to design their Centre for Research in Film and Visual Media.
The media research centre is a refurbishment of two types of building: the basement and ground floors of a heritage-listed grade-two Georgian terrace providing support facilities and academic offices, and a circa- 1970s rear ground and basement extension accommodating an 80-seat digital cinema auditorium with a projection room, breakout spaces, circulation and a seminar room.
Views over the neighbouring gardens, giving the breakout space a voyeuristic quality and evoking the relationship of camera to subject.
The notion of light as a generator of form is continued within. The architects have conceived the interiors as carved out of a solid block of space, with the cone of light from a projector forming the cutting block. The resulting spaces are generally impressive. Light is now able to enter right to the basement level, thus reconnecting the building to its urban and historic contexts.
The brightly coloured finishes include painted plasterboard, framed velour fabric panels, leather, glass and stainless steel, carpet and resin floors. http://www.surfacearchitects.com