Cinema City, Norwich

Cinema City, Norwich

Cinema City is a three-screen arts cinema built within the Grade I listed buildings of Stuart Hall and Suckling House in Norwich.  In addition to the three cinema screens operated by the Picturehouse group, the building houses a cafe and restaurant, along with a film education centre operated by the Cinema City Education charity.

Adrian James Acoustics were appointed in 2002.  The scheme presented considerable acoustic design challenges.  The three screens are arranged in tight proximity within the shell of Stuart Hall, with the smaller screens 2 and 3 on the ground floor level and the larger screen 1 on first floor level, with ventilation plant mounted on the roof above it.  A very high standard of sound insulation was required between screens, along with low ambient noise levels and well-controlled room acoustics.  Achieving the necessary sound insulation required a high degree of structural isolation between screens.  The solution was to construct the two ground floor screens as floated boxes on concrete slabs isolated with Mason jack-up neoprene bearings.  The floated slabs were stepped over several tiers, which presented a considerable challenge in construction.  This at the time was one of the most complex floating concrete floor installations attempted in the UK.

Constraints imposed by the existing building required ventilation plant for the cinema screens and projection rooms to be mounted directly above Screen One.  Comprehensive vibration isolation measures were therefore needed to prevent structureborne transmission of plant noise into the cinemas, along with careful design of mechanical systems to minimise ductborne noise and crosstalk between cinemas.

The cinema was opened in 2007 and was awarded by the Norwich Society in 2009 the inaugural Sir Bernard Feilden Award for excellence in alterations and restoration of a historical building.

Client : Cinema City Ltd
Architect : Burrell Foley Fischer
Contractor: Bluestone PLC

Contract value: £3.5 million