The Lighthouse-Cinema

  • Location: Smithfield
  • Architect: DTA Architects
  • Completed: 2007

DTA Architects were commissioned in December 2006 to realise the recreation of the Light House Cinema.  The architectural challenge of this project was to combine the ‘insertion’ of four cinema volumes into ‘existing’ basement voids with the creation of an informal circulation ‘route’ providing an enjoyable and spatially challenging experience.  The motivation was to recover the joy of going to the cinema that has been lost through the banality of the mulit-plex experience.

The site consisted of two large scale voids existing within the basement car park beneath the large mixed use development.

The contrast between the ‘insertions’ and the ‘existing’ enclosure is achieved through the expression and separation of form and material.  The material palette employed is matt black aluminium panels [insertions] and rendered walls [existing] while the contrast between is tempered by the American White Oak circulation ‘route’.
 The voids that interface between ‘insertions’ and ‘existing’ are employed to create a spatial sequence along the ‘route’, from entrance; to café / bar; to terrace; to concession; to gallery; to concession; to cinema screen; all of which enhance the base architectural concept.

Externally the screens are clad in a bespoke aluminium cladding system developed in tandem with the sub-contractor.  Each cassette panel comprises a male and female joint ensuring that all fixings are concealed.  The system permitted installation of complex cassettes allowing the aluminium to envelope the screen forms reinforcing the 3-dimensional expression.

A variation of screen sizes was required to enable a diverse cinematic programme and to allow for the retention of more popular films for a longer period; Screen One – 279, Screen Two – 155, Screen Three – 118, Screen Four – 70.  It was also imperative that the ‘route’ concluded with a tangible ‘destination’ and also provided a counter point to the rigor of the public areas.  We employed the surfaces on walls, floors and seats to achieve this with a dedicated theme for all four screens.

Screen One attains the optimal screening room proportions, in order to reflect this we muted the colour palette to minimise visual distraction employing various tones of blue on walls, seats and floors.

Screen Two has a greater depth to width ratio, creating a more elongated perspective within the screening room.  To attract focus onto the screen we muted the wall colour to a single grey tone and created a sense of drama and interest with the multi-coloured seating bank.

Screen Three is suspended between the café / bar on ground floor and the concession / gallery space at level -3 and we tried to emphasise the element of suspension by using  a single red colour on all surfaces.

Screen Four is the smallest screen and is compromised in section due to the terracing over.  In order to overcome this we produced a spectrum of colour that runs across the walls which is in contrast with the black seating and flooring.

The funding for the project came from a number of sources Fusano Properties Ltd.; Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and the Cultural Cinema Consortium, a strategic partnership of The Arts Council and the Irish Film Board.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on Thursday, December 18, 2008
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