Essex Road, London
CATEGORY: Mixed Use, Leisure, Assemby, Residential
PROJECT:  Essex Road, London
SIZE: 12,600m2

The former Carlton Cinema – a Grade II * listed building in the Canonbury Conservation Area in Islington, London - fell into disrepair after decades of neglect and was purchased by a local Pan-African church with the intention of using the church to expand into a new international congregation.  

The project had to be a solution that would both raise funds for renovation and create a facility what would ensure a sustainable future for the building.  Volume 3 presented the scheme for consent as an Enabling Development within English Heritage Guidelines, a strategy that would allow the economic activity generated within the site to be used to restore the building to its former glory. 

The proposed mixed-use scheme introduced a new service element comprised of a full kitchen, catering and banquet facilities beneath the main auditorium, as well as conference facilities.  This reconfigured the original theatre and stage into flexible spaces that allowed the congregation to use the auditorium for their services but also act as a key element to the proposed new conference facilities.  Furthermore, the introduction of civic areas, such as small cinemas and a tearoom, create gathering spaces that invite the community to enjoy the building. 

The unsightly, blank rear elevation was transformed into an elegant residential block comprised of flats and maisonettes looking onto the linear park of New River Place.  The capital generated from this residential element would have allowed for the principle elevations and key interiors to be restored.  This approach was a way of leveraging the economic potential within the site to achieve a social and cultural value for the local neighbourhood and ultimately creating a significant new venue for Greater London.