Ruth Baker updates on RIOgeneration – a community arts based regeneration programme in Dalston, London lead by RIO Cinema and supported by Ryder Architecture. 

This is not the first time the RIO Cinema has seen regeneration – it has undergone a number of remodels throughout its history. The building originally dates from 1915, and was extensively remodelled in 1933 by the exuberant cinema architect, De Jour FE Bromige, to meet the requirements for sound cinema.

The 1933 modifications included the addition of a flamboyant false ceiling to the auditorium, behind which, parts of the original Neo Edwardian cinema remain intact.  This largely forgotten volume retains many original features and it is hoped that further expansion can once again bring this historic gem back into public use.

Preliminary studies by Ryder identified two forgotten and underused areas in the existing grade II listed building which could be converted to create two new exciting cinema screens. In addition to the new screens, the regeneration project aims to improve the public café facilities and create a more welcoming entrance.

The new screens will extend the capacity of the independent community building to provide flexible programming and ensure it continues to support the diverse number of local groups and cultural film festival organisations who use the building simultaneously.

Ryder and the RIO Cinema have created an exhibition on the mezzanine level explaining the history and ideas for the cinema’s future.  These were exhibited recently as part of the London Festival of Architecture where many interested local community members and visitors were given a tour.  The event included a unique opportunity to see behind the scenes, including the projection room, and to learn about the development plans.  Visitors also enjoyed screenings of classic architectural themed films, Utopia and Playtime.

We’re passionate about integrating and engaging with the communities in which we work and this is an ideal opportunity for us to help support an important and historical local building.

RIOgeneration aims to sustain the financial viability of the business, while maintaining the unique character of an independent community cinema.

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