© Valerie Bennett
© Valerie Bennett
© Valerie Bennett
© Valerie Bennett
© Valerie Bennett
© Valerie Bennett
© Valerie Bennett
© Valerie Bennett
© Valerie Bennett

Tyneside Cinema

A stalwart of the UK independent cinema scene, the Grade II-listed Tyneside Cinema has been restored and reconstructed to include new amenities alongside two big screens within its exquisite Art Deco interior. Though the building retains its original usage, this project had to take into account the many changes that have taken place in the film industry since its opening in 1937, interweaving historic features with modern requirements.

Fletcher Priest Architects sought to update several aspects of the building, but its structural complexity and city centre location demanded a strong engineering presence to ensure that both the design and implementation of the changes were structurally sensible.

The design demanded the removal of a timber mansard roof and replacement with a two-storey steel box structure to house two new screens. Load transfer during this process was the most problematic factor, since the existing masonry walls around the perimeter of the building needed to support the new structure, with no intermediate supports within the newsreel auditorium below.

To counter this problem we utilised extra lightweight steel trusses spanning above the auditorium to support the new floors, and assessed the strength of the existing masonry walls, using the results of our surveys to determine where new columns were required. The internal layout was remodelled to improve circulation and usability, with changes made to the entrance foyer, bar, box office, toilets and seating areas.

On a practical level, although the site did not suffer from any geotechnical or contamination issues, it was laden with accessibility problems: adjacent buildings brought with them rights of light and party wall issues, off-site and on-site traffic was an issue given the location. We overcame cost and programming complications by devising the balance of off-site and in-situ fabrication methods which best met the needs of this project.

Updating the famous art deco interior of this Grade II-listed cinema in Newcastle

Newcastle, UK
Tyneside Cinema
Fletcher Priest Architects
£ 5 million
  • 2009 RIBA Award
  • 2009 RICS Award – Building Conservation
  • 2009 RICS Award – Tourism and Leisure
  • 2009 RICS Award – Project of the Year