Architecture:WK (AWK), have launched a visionary design concept for a luxury boutique cinema in Teddington, which they are providing to the community as a Social Initiative Project.

The proposed design, The Front Room Bar & Cinema, which was developed before lockdown one for the former branch of HSBC on Teddington High Street, is AWK’s vision for how the site could be redeveloped for local benefit by introducing a new type of social and cultural hub, bringing commercial and employment opportunities to the area.

Sam Kamleh, AWK Director, said: “The site has been dormant for three years and after planning was refused last summer, we decided to dream a vision for what it could become.  The team believed a cinema would be perfect as it would enhance the offering on the High Street, help the local economy and serve the needs of the different age groups in the area.”

Designed in the spirit of Esher’s Everyman and Notting Hill’s iconic Electric cinema, The Front Room Bar & Cinema, would offer a cocoon-like auditorium with comfortable seating and a bar.  There would be a flexible stage to extend for events or reduce for additional cinema seating, plus on the ground floor there would be a bar and restaurant/café incorporating easy sofas and banquette seating for dining.

The last cinema in Teddington, the Savoy, closed in 1960. The concept of boutique style cinemas has a track record of success in West London. The Curzon in Richmond and the Olympic Studios in Barnes provide those areas with a focal point for cinema within the borough of Richmond.

Speaking exclusively to UK Property Forums, Sam said, ” As a small practice, we don’t generally have the time for architectural competition, partly because of their tight deadlines.  So a few years ago we decided to invest our energy and expertise in looking at local sites that need improvement and suggest solutions.   Some are requested and some are self-generated.   We call these our Social Initiative Projects.

He went on to say, “ The cinema is an idea that had been brewing for a while.   We believe that after lockdown, there will be an even greater desire for shared social experiences – and we are optimistic that we will go back to a ‘new normal’.   This site seems perfect for such a venue; residents and business owners can visit for a night out after work and it is within walking distance for those in Strawberry Hill, Twickenham and the Hamptons. “

The proactive proposal has already seen an approach from some its film houses since launch in early January.  Funding the site would give a good chance of approval within a conservation area which is rich in film and television history.

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