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Edinburgh cinema to star in its own sequel

April 19 2013

Edinburgh cinema to star in its own sequel
Plans to rejuvenate a derelict Edinburgh cinema by turning it into an 'instant arena' are back in contention after plans to re-establish the theatre as a public venue were approved.

The Clerk Street Odeon harks back to a more genteel age with its art-deco architecture and ‘Greek’ style auditorium and sky ceiling, but has gradually succumbed to decay following its closure a decade ago.

To finance its refurbishment Duddingston House Properties and 7N Architects are to build 102 student bedrooms on land to the rear of the property. including the site of an existing fly tower, making the transformation of the A-listed cinema financially viable.

Faced in a white render frame with polished concrete panels the new facade is intended to be sympathetic in scale and proportion to existing tenements with a rear courtyard elevation finished in brick, a conscious nod to the existing cinema.

These plans entail turning the main auditorium into a space for cabaret with a champagne bar, restaurant and coffee lounge. Secondary theatres would be configured to accommodate the screening of major sporting events and concerts.
Student flats are to be built on the unpreposessing Buccleugh Street frontage
Student flats are to be built on the unpreposessing Buccleugh Street frontage
The original auditorium could seat 2,008 people
The original auditorium could seat 2,008 people


John Grant
#1 Posted by John Grant on 22 Apr 2013 at 14:05 PM
The usual claim that this is sympathetic to existing tenements is as usual hard to swallow. Storey heights, colour, texture, window arrangements are entirely out of relationship. Is the public really expected to be taken in??
#2 Posted by Egbert on 22 Apr 2013 at 18:19 PM
I would counter that the Buccleuch St elevation is the least contentious part of the scheme - the design is in a modern idiom but in terms of storey height, massing and solid-to-void ratio it looks compatible with its neighbours and fits the heterogeneous nature of the street. The proof of the proposals will be in the detail of the treatment of the listed cinema building - expect this to come in for some serious scrutiny in due course.
#3 Posted by dalrylama on 23 Apr 2013 at 09:01 AM
I know why they feel compelled to state that it is sympathetic to the surrounding tenements - but it doesn't really as John points out. If you disregard the set-back uppermost floor then it is really only the height of the building that relates to the context.

All of that said, I think they've made an error in judgement claiming such a thing as there is no need for them to do so - it is a simple and elegant facade (hard to comment on the building without more information) which contrasts beautifully with context - quite a positive addition of variety to the streetscape; something 7N should be proud to boast of.

One last thing - white render? I think it's a mistake in our climate and this location

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