Building with timber: Hoxton Cinema – Latest
The Hoxton Cinema is a prized heritage building that has sat derelict in East London for many years. On behalf of Garfwish and working closely with Waugh Thistleton Architects, we have helped redevelop the building into a highly sustainable, multi-use space that maintains the cinema’s legacy for future generations. The development demonstrates how an innovative and sustainable approach to redeveloping historic buildings is possible.
Elliott Wood was appointed to redevelop the Hoxton Cinema into a three-screen cinema, restaurants and 18 flats. The project involved the construction of a new six storey building plus a new basement.
The design combines two distinct elements, a solid concrete ground level to accommodate the cinema, and an acoustically insulated cross-laminated timber (CLT) upper residential element over 5 floors, with a stepped western elevation which provides gardens and balconies to the 18 flats. A lightweight zinc-clad pavilion makes a discreet extension to the heritage facade and accommodates a penthouse.
The CLT superstructure is supported on an efficient reinforced concrete transfer structure at first floor level. The 1914 art deco façade has been restored to its former glory and a new black brick façade conceals the CLT structure toprovide a subtle, modern backdrop.
The case for timber
The project is an example of how timber can be used effectively as a sustainable construction material in the restoration of a heritage building. The material’s low embodied carbon was the driving factor behind the specification of CLT but it was also chosen as it provided practical advantages over steel and concrete.
The lightweight nature of the material, its quick assembly time, and the superior quality and consistency of offsite construction are just some of the reasons why CLT was chosen for this project.
From a structural perspective, timber was specified for its lightweight nature to achieve a more efficient long-span RC transfer slab at first floor level. The RC transfer deck was necessary to accommodate the cinema and restaurants and the relatively efficient thickness of 400mm of this transfer slab was only made possible due to the lightweight property of CLT for the structure above.
The project also had a significantly restricted programme and the use of offsite fabrication for CLT elements reduced construction time and helped meet project deadlines. The design of timber elements using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) also required front-loading the design process which pushed the design team to understand the details from an early stage. This enabled for a well-coordinated and considered design of the building.
A sustainable solution for heritage building restoration
This development has restored the building to its original function and provided additional benefits to the community. As a vibrant new destination with a 3-screen Curzon Cinema, as well as its associated café and bar areas, the building provides new employment, leisure and entertainment opportunities to the local area.
The unique quality of the façade restoration has also given the site a renewed identity and has contributed to the regeneration for the local area. The development also responds to the housing shortage in London by providing new homes of which 50% are DDA compliant.
Looking at the wider picture, this development showcases how complex heritage building restoration can be achieved in an efficient and low-impact way by using timber as a structural material.