Walthamstow EMD Cinema

The site comprises a Grade II* listed super cinema, recognised to be of national significance as a rare surviving example of the extravagant and flamboyant work of the Granada Group, their famed architect, Cecil Aubrey Masey, and interior designer, Theodore Komisarjevsky, at the height of the cinema boom of the 1930s. The building is loved by local people, who have campaigned relentlessly and in large numbers for about 15 years for it to be restored as an entertainment venue.

Date
2015

Heritage Grade
Grade II

Client
EMD Cinema

Location
Walthamstow, London

Gross Floor Area
5,663m² GEA

Status
Pre-planning

The building is in a derelict and decaying state. It has been on Historic England’s Register of ‘Buildings at Risk in London’ or the last decade. Historic England considers the building to be at imminent risk of further rapid deterioration and loss of fabric. There is an urgent need for a deliverable and sustainable solution.

Our proposals have been conceived against this backdrop of desire in the community for the building to be restored to its former glory, as a destination and anchor for the evening economy. We have also had the parallel requirement, however, to make the scheme commercially viable in a situation where there is definitely a large conservation deficit.

Our initial plans aim to demonstrate how the site could be carefully re-imagined, with the Grade II* listed building restored and revitalised, with sensitive contemporary interventions.

Our masterplan suggests restoring the range of uses and basic form to one that is in keeping with the building’s use in its heyday as a cine-variety venue. The primary element is restoration of the auditorium to once again be a leading venue for live entertainment.

We have worked to deliver the specifications of Soho Theatre, who would like to make it London’s leading comedy venue and also to stage a pantomime and other cultural uses, and to make it a venue that is practical and viable for other potential operators.

We envisage that the auditorium will also host “event cinema” and live projection so that people are able to again experience what it was like to watch movies in a great super cinema like this. It would be the only place in London that this is possible.

This core use would be supported by restaurants, bars and a boutique hotel that will, of itself, make a big contribution to making Walthamstow a vibrant place to be. The site would be a vibrant hub of activity by day and night.