Optimising performance at an historic cinema
The project to renovate the dilapidated Odeon building, located in Bradford in the north of UK, will see the historic auditorium revived to breathe new life into the city’s cultural scene. Most recently featuring a bingo hall and a cinema, the project will restore the building back to the original auditorium size, as well as bringing back features hidden by years of redecoration and development.
The vision the clients have outlined for the building includes a modern, well-equipped auditorium, managed workspace, learning facilities, co-working spaces, restaurants, café-bars and independent retail outlets. The client aims to transform the space – which has a capacity of 3,500 seated or 4,000 standing – into a cultural hub to attract national and international performers, as well as being flexible to allow sports events, corporate product launch exhibitions and conferences. This project will not only create cultural opportunities within the area, but it also open up 50 new jobs in the city.
The need to retain and restore the Odeon’s features alongside the need to make the space relevant to a modern audience was a key challenge for BuroHappold Engineering’s MEP team. We were required to replicate the atmosphere of the original building while ensuring it was suitable for its new use as a commercial and entertainment space.
As the refurbishment is predominantly funded through money raised from a variety of sources, the budget for the work is limited. Our engineers needed to respond to this and deliver a design that was both cost effective and efficient.
In order to fulfil the client’s restoration vision, our team concealed the services behind the existing elements to prevent them from impacting on the fabric of the building. The air distribution solution for the main auditorium uses historic duct routes that are refurbished to a modern standard. This means that the efficiency of the building performs at the desired standard, while ensuring that the system doesn’t hinder the traditional feel of the building.
To deliver a design that stayed within budget while achieving the client’s brief, we adopted a zoned control strategy to accommodate the differing uses of the building. Further adding value, our team also used modular boilers assembled on site, which allowed us to install the heating plant in a confined plant room, maximising the usable space available to the operator.
Using our experience of restoring historically important buildings, our work has contributed towards the success of the project, delivering a sympathetic approach to the MEP systems and holistic energy efficient design.
Taking the project on at Stage 2, we contributed significantly to redesign. Our experts delivered value to the client by reducing the capital costs for the scheme without impacting on operating standards, increasing efficiency in operation and improving levels of environmental comfort. Additionally, we ensured that all operator (the NEC) requirements were incorporated.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply