Birks Cinema – Perthshire Building

Birks Cinema, Aberfeldy Restoration, Perthshire Development, Scottish Architecture

Birks Cinema, Scotland : Perthshire Architecture

Art Deco Building Restoration, Scotland – design by Robin Baker Architects

26 + 17 Apr 2013

Birks Cinema Restoration

Design: Robin Baker Architects

Location: Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland

Opening of the restored Art Deco Birks Cinema

Excitement is mounting in the Highland Perthshire town of Aberfeldy as the launch of the restored Birks Cinema approaches on 19th April with a Willy Wonka type golden ticket event.

Local architect Robin Baker, who moved here over 20 years ago to work with the late eco-architect Howard Liddell, has just completed the restoration of the cinema, which opened on a corner of the town square in 1939 and closed over 30 years ago.

A seven year campaign, championed by local chocolatier Charlotte Flower and supported by many very capable people in the lively community, has raised an incredible £1.8m to realise a fantastic dream.

Local MSP John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth has described the community effort as ‘heroic’.

Funding has been sourced from the Scottish Rural Development Fund, the Big Lottery, Creative Scotland, the local Griffin Wind Farm community fund and many other private sources.

The project received a Town Centre Regeneration Fund grant, at a critical time, which enabled the Friends to purchase the building and Robin Baker to lead a design team comprising Perth based quantity surveyors and engineers, Ralph Ogg & Partners and Allen Gordon & Co and the Edinburgh office of Max Fordham providing environmental services and acoustics design.

Birks Cinema Scotland Birks Cinema Scotland
photos from architect

Film maker Murray Grigor, who has assisted the project, has commented that the original design would not get planning permission today as it does not fit it with the older buildings that surround it.

Robin Baker commented that we have respected the Art Deco facade with its white render and Crittall steel windows but let more light in and views out with large new openings in the west side, forming a dramatic double height cafe bar space. A new zinc canopy has been added with a granite paved ramp and curved entrance plinth to complete the entrance.

Stefanie Fischer of Burrell Foley Fischer provided a guiding hand and proposed a woodland theme for the interior design, referring to the Birks (Birch) trees.

The actor Alan Cumming, who was born in the town and is a patron, has recorded the Burns song The Birks o’ Aberfeldy for the cinema launch.

Baker said that ” In line with the SRDP funding objectives Perthshire based Hadden Construction were appointed as main contractor, with Perth based Scottish & Southern Energy as the electrical subcontractor. After a slow start we were very impressed with the performance of Hadden who completed this project within budget on a very restricted site during a long cold winter period.”

Birks Cinema Scotland Birks Cinema Scotland
photos from architect

Local furniture designer Angus Ross has crafted the ‘woodland’ reception and bar.

We hope that this wonderful project will help to regenerate the town centre by providing a family friendly destination.

Already four empty shop units have been filled by new businesses and Perth & Kinross Council have repaved the two streets around the corner, removed ugly railings, tidied up the traffic signs, upgraded the bus stop and provided extra seating.

The cinema has helped to put Aberfeldy on the map as a place well worth visiting.

Birks Cinema information / images received from Robin Baker Architects

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