SAAHA  2024

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date:           2023

status:       completed

type:           cultural cinema and office

client:        Norsk Filminstitutt

SAAHA Arkitekter, in collaboration with iArk, has completed the renovation and rehabilitation of Cinemateket along with offices for the Norwegian Film Institute.

The project consists of an upgrade to the building fasade and entry, a new concept for the public foyer and reception area to Cinemateket as well as a full renovation of the NFI office area.

The design of Cinemateket is a tribute to the good old fashion cinema experience, while at the same time acknowledging its setting within a robust 1940’s concrete warehouse. The material palette of oak timber, powder-coated aluminium and glass, creates an exciting dialogue with the exposed rough concrete construction of the existing building. An ambition of the project was to bring back the nostalgic feeling of going to cinema, by giving the cinema-goer an experience from the moment they see the building to when they’ve arrived at their seat within the theatre. The public foyer has become a light and open area, with an undulating ‘stage carpet’ in vertical oak battens wrapping around the cinema theatres. When you enter through this stage curtain, you find yourself in a prize winning theatre. The public foyer area extends over 2 stories, is connected by a bespoke spiral staircase, designed in collaboration with stair designer and artist Tron Meyer. To ascend this staircase is not just about getting from A to B, but a small experience itself.

The previous fasade towards Dronningensgate was tired and ageing, with a dark, recessed entry. By pulling the fasade to the street line and installing new large double storey widows, the expression of the two-storey foyer is reenforced, whilst framing the building’s public activity to the street. A new awning and fluorescent signage is a nod to the art deco era of cinema design.

Re-using the existing building is not only a good outcome in terms of sustainability and reducing CO2 emissions, but the existing materials also give good qualities to the space. Cinemateket is an institution where the public has many memories and experiences connected to this location, and so the ambition was to facilitate the continuation of these experiences. Another goal was that Cinematektet should also be opened up to a wide variety of visitors and for the premises to be equally welcoming to all ages and backgrounds.
Careful consideration was placed in creating an open and accessible space for all, from the positioning of benches where one can rest, to the safe placement of prams while visiting with children.