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RUFFARCHITECTS_Barbican Cinema 2&




City of London / Barbican Centre








In addition to the retro-fit of the interior spaces at Barbican Cinema 1, RUFFARCHITECTS were appointed for the refurbishment of the foyer and auditorium spaces at Cinemas 2&3. These cinemas form part of the wider internationally-renowned Barbican Centre which includes two theatres, a concert hall, two galleries, public foyers and a glasshouse conservatory. Cinemas 2&3 are located on Beech Street with two 152-seat auditoriums, and a shared foyer and café space.

As with the refurbishment at Cinema 1, we took a holistic approach to the visitor experience of these spaces; using lighting, graphic signage and furniture design to tie it in with the experience of the building as a whole. A significant amount of work at Beech Street was about providing a consistent and legible visual language to unify the spaces and make them clearly identifiable as part of the Barbican, which was particularly important in connecting this separated site with the rest of the Centre.

Working closely with teams across the Barbican, the new design of Cinema 2&3 considers changing audiences and accessibility, utilising enhanced technology including digital wayfinding, and refinements to paperless ticketing. RUFFARCHITECTS’ concept creates focus and navigation points through the journey of arrival, meeting, collecting tickets, eating and drinking, as well as the screen experience.

Paul Ruff, our Director, was also the Project Architect in 2012 for the Beech Street cinemas façade whilst working at AHMM. This presented a great opportunity to think again about this cinema project. The concept was to create a modern interpretation of the exhibition hall façade that stood there before. Now in 2021, as RUFFARCHITECTS, we have embraced and extended this when developing the internal concept and new entrance sequence. We have taken the iconic coffered ceiling grid of the main Centre and playfully created an uplifting and bright entrance lantern. This new lobby is critical as a pausing moment before entering the foyer. Key to the experience of this space, we worked with the wider Centre teams to tie this into the main building and the Barbican’s public space experience, as well as keeping it as a standalone identifiable venue.

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