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High Commendation Small Project Tricycle Cinema, London NW6

Extra jewels have been added to Kilburn's Tricycle arts complex for a remarkably modest outlay, thanks to the dedication of the client and his team of professional advisers and specialist contractors.

The delightful 300-seat cinema and neatly packaged extension of the Tricycle Theatre in north London's cosmopolitan Kilburn High Road is a superb example of what can be achieved by an inspired team working to a modest budget. It also gives the Tricycle a commanding and modern street presence.

The narrow entrance to the Tricycle's original and intimate builders- scaffold structure within a fire damaged Georgian theatre leads into a compact foyer and bar restaurant. Expansion plans had long been the dream of artistic director Nicolas Kent.

The promise of a lottery grant, and some extended haggling, enabled the Tricycle to secure the adjacent site behind an undertaker's premises, fronting on to a side road.

Pushing to make maximum use of the space without overshadowing the Victorian houses further down the street involved sinking the cinema 4.5m into the ground within a substantial bored pile perimeter wall.

It made the extension a dauntingly large and technically demanding construction operation when viewed in the context of the modest building work that had gone before.

A large daylit rehearsal studio, art studio and compact offices are packed on top of the cinema, while an airy two-storey foyer and bar in the minimalist style link into the original Tricycle complex.

Not a centimetre has been wasted. For instance, what might have been dead space beside the projection room is a private members' box. At the ticket counter is a neat fold down flap so that anyone arriving in wheelchair to claim their tickets can sign a credit card slip without having to fumble on their lap. And offices for the small team of staff running the complex have been tucked in wherever there was spare space.

It is great asset to the local community and a superb payoff for the lottery funds.

Judges' comments

'The new building is a model of how to get a quart out of a pint pot. Rigorous design, skill and determination have yielded high quality facilities to a tight budget on an even tighter site. A little gem and, quite rightly, a very delighted client.'


The Tricycle Theatre Company



Principal designer

Tim Foster Architects

Structural engineer

Price & Myers


Grist Construction Other firms

Atelier Ten (services)

Light & Design Associates (lighting)

Paul Gillieron Acoustic Design

Hamilton H Turner & Son (QS)

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