BFI Riverfront Bar & Kitchen

We were one of five selected practices invited to develop an architectural proposal for a new entrance and enhanced restaurant and bar for the BFI.

Through an intensive process of fieldwork, mapping studies and an in-depth research into the workings of the BFI, our proposal became rooted in a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities and complexities of this prominent London site beneath the Grade II listed Waterloo Bridge.

Responding to the volumes of the Waterloo Bridge and the pedestrian flows alongside the South Bank, our proposal presents an asymmetrical design intended to draw people in and to reflect the importance of the BFI as a world-class art venue.

The overall design is at the same time inspired by the nostalgia and dynamism of cinema, playing on light and movement.

Responding to the riverside’s existing cultural scene, our design proposes locating the main cinema entrance on the eastern corner facing the Denys Lasdun’s National Theatre. The entrance is focused on The Ribbon, a strip of light running above the cinema entrance through and into the lobby, acting as a way finding device and a way of displaying screening times and event info.

The key feature of the design is The Finial, intended as a place marker and announcing the BFI's presence on the South Bank. The Finial plays an essential role in the environmental strategy for the proposal, acting as a chimney to provide passive ventilation and air extraction. Whilst seen as a sculptural element, oriented to glisten in the light of the Waterloo Sunset, The Finial also plays a structural role in stabilising the curtain wall system, which visually links the BFI and its immediate surroundings.

As of making the final shortlist for the competition, we have assembled a comprehensive design team, whose invaluable input helped inform and ensure the structural, technical and financial viability of our design proposal.

Tags: Civic, Commercial, Heritage

Addressing the bridge.

Addressing the bridge.

Stage door entrance.

Stage door entrance.


British Film Institute

Architect and Lead Designer

Structural Engineer
Price & Myers

Civil Engineer
Price & Myers

Project Manager
McLeod + Aitken

CDM Principal Designer
McLeod + Aitken

Sustainability Consultant
Price & Myers

Heritage Consultant
Donald Insall Associates

Hann Tucker

Lighting Design
Into Lighting

M&E Consultant



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