The revitalised Old Town Hall at Oldham opens to the public today. The Grade II listed building has been transformed into a cinema and restaurant complex, and is now a symbol of regeneration within the new cultural quarter at the heart of the town centre.
In 2009 Oldham Town Hall was declared one of the UK’s ‘Top Ten Buildings at Risk’ by the Victorian Society following 30 years of neglect. BDP was appointed by Oldham Council in 2012 to investigate a range of options to bring the building back into use and conserve as much of its historic fabric as possible.
Our scheme retains all three sandstone and red brick elevations of the original building and restores the finest of the surviving decorative rooms. A new glass and sandstone extension overlooks a transformed public square creating a beacon during the day and a spectacular illuminated lightbox at night. Seven state of the art auditoria are contained within the complex multi-levelled envelope of the original building. A glazed slot separates the extension from the original building and forms a natural entrance to the cinema concourse. Restaurants at lower ground level enjoy generous openings onto the square.
Alan Davies project director said: “Cinemas are increasingly seen as a key component in regenerating town centres - bringing in families, extending the trading day and adding to the night-time economy. The project demonstrates how, with vision, this can be achieved despite technical challenges and a difficult town centre site.”
The cinema element of the scheme is now open for use by the public, with the restaurants and public square set to complete at the end of November.
BDP’s interdisciplinary design team worked collaboratively with Oldham Council, Kier Services civil, structural and environmental engineers, Odeon’s architects Ellis Williams, artists Dan Dubowitz and Benedict Philips and main contractor Morgan Sindall. The project was delivered for £37m.
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