One of the most challenging but rewarding undertakings in architectural design is regeneration. Whether it's taking something run-down and outdated, or a beautiful but neglected treasure, there are always many more considerations and complications than starting with a blank slate.
The Berkeley Group has taken on the challenge of many such projects, creating new homes and landmarks from forgotten gems like the Filmworks in Ealing. This project created by St George will bring a cinema back to Ealing, as well as creating much-needed new homes in London. St George took the Art Deco façade of the old Empire Cinema, sadly demolished and abandoned in 2008, and used it as the inspiration to create something contemporary yet inspired by history.
The historic cinema combined elements of Art Deco and classical design in its architecture, which have been beautifully preserved in the original façade, which will once again form an impressive frontage on Ealing Broadway.
This façade will house apartments and retail, and invite film-lovers further into the new public spaces beyond, filled with restaurants, shops, and the 8-screen cinema itself, operated by Picturehouse.
The arrival of the Filmworks development is especially welcome in Ealing; a place with such a respected film-making history should never be without a cinema. Ealing Studios is the oldest continuously operating film production facility in the world, starting in 1902 at the very beginning of the film industry itself. Plenty of blockbusters have been made here, from the likes of Shaun of the Dead and The Imitation Game to television classics such as Downtown Abbey and Doctor Who. St George's Filmworks development will provide a new social and cultural centre for film in Ealing, the arrival will be highly anticipated.
The Berkeley group is no stranger to such regeneration, with other projects around London also combining old with new. Fitzroy Gate in Old Isleworth combines the creation of new family homes with the renovation of historic properties such as a turn-of-the-century redbrick chapel by Pugin and Pugin, and other elegant original buildings, all set against beautifully landscaped Thames-side parkland.
There's also Wimbledon Hill Park, which incorporates the ancestral home of the 2nd Duke of Wellington, complete with restored interiors and formal gardens to serve modern residents. Trent Park in Enfield also incorporates restored Grade II listed buildings on an historic country estate alongside new-build houses and apartments.
Find out more about Filmworks by St George.