Denham Film Laboratories will be transformed into an outstanding £120 million Art Deco and movie inspired residential address. Weston Homes will be preserving the development’s movie magic in a number of ways. The retained cinema – which was used to screen movies to Hollywood directors including Stanley Kubrick, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Steven Spielberg – will be refurbished and turned into a cinema theatre and club for residents, retaining an important link to the history of the site.
There will also be movie-themed public artwork in the grounds. Highly original and innovative, the new public artwork will take the form of large format plates of glass (each circa 1.6 metres high by 4 metres long) which will be etched with scenes from the famous movies produced at the film studios. The etched glass will be backlit so that they can be illuminated at night, providing highly striking movie themed artwork for residents and visitors to enjoy.
Subject to the necessary consents, the various streets within the development will be named after the famous historic movies, film directors and actors/actresses who worked at the film studios over the decades.
The Grade II listed Art Deco main laboratory and head office building, built in 1936, was designed by Walter Gropius for film producer Alexander Korda, and comes with a surrounding 11.94 acre (4.83 hectare) site. Walter Gropius (1883-1969) headed the Bauhaus movement in Germany (1919-32). Gropius designed a three storey Art Deco building with crisp white render façade and continuous linear balconies, evoking 1930s ocean liners. It is one of only three buildings that Gropius designed in the UK before he relocated to the United States. The building was given Grade II listing in 1985.
The new development will be known as the Denham Film Studios and will provide 224 converted and newly built homes; including 154 one, two and three bedroom apartments and 70 four and five bedroom family townhouses. The project will be highly inclusive, providing private homes for sale, ranging from one bed starter homes up to large five bedroom executive houses, complete with affordable housing of varying tenure.
Features within the new development will include a retained and restored cinema with bar and a community hall/fitness space. The new properties are designed around garden squares, landscaped grounds, rill water features, private gardens and protected woodland complete with parking and garaging.
The main Grade II listed building will be converted into 49 apartments; around this will be two new green squares and communal gardens, bordered by three new four storey apartment buildings providing 105 new homes. Around the eastern side of the site there will be avenues of new three and four storey terraced housing, and to the northern section two and three storey detached townhouses; all overlooking communal landscaping and private gardens.
Bob Weston, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Weston Homes said, “For almost 80 years the Denham Film Studios played a central role in the history of Hollywood and British movie making. With its iconic Art Deco centrepiece, the retained and restored cinema once used by Hollywood directors and its illustrious history makes this is without doubt the most exciting, glamorous and unique restoration projects Weston Homes has undertaken to date. Our vision at the Denham Film Studios is to create an Art Deco and movie inspired residential address within easy commuting distance of London via rail or road.”