Any structure with a distinct, identifiable and iconic product or image has an invaluable asset. Likewise, Empire Cinema is a valuable asset. However, it is essential to recognize that the audience demands are different from those that the building targeted initially. It would therefore be necessary to adapt the building for use today. It is recommended that the best use for a building such as Empire Cinema would be include using it for the objective it was originally intended. Therefore, the most preferable use for a listed cinema would still be as a cinema with other auditorium uses being acceptable.
Numerous examples of such in the USA where movie palaces are cherished and retained as performing arts venues (Trevor-Jones, 2002, p. 8). Among the strategies in achieving this would be to create niche cinemas or operate the old cinema in a manner that fits the contemporary mass market. Niche Cinema Since the old Empire Cinema building is located in an urban environment, one way to enhance the value of the listed cinema would be through niche marketing that essentially entails responding to the needs of the local community. The relevant authorities can borrow ideas from foreign successful efforts in handling historic cinema building.
For instance, City Screen has previously marketed historic cinemas to more discerning or older adults that aspire for premium products and have disposable income to support them. The key to the success for City Screen has been to understand that design values contribute to income generation. The designs have largely been sharp with emphasis being on cafes and bars as a strategy of attracting and holding a potentially high spending clientele. With the design values that characterize the golden age of cinema becoming fashionable with time, much potential exists in a real rather than a faux art deco building (Trevor-Jones, 2002, p. ). Mass Market Operation Even though a well thought out cinema targeted at a niche market exhibits huge potential, the local authorities can consider the option of renovating the Empire Cinema building into a mass retail cinema market. Significant investment from city regeneration budgets can successfully integrate the historic cinema into mainstream operations. Similar efforts have succeeded in Europe and in the USA. An example of this includes the Ritzy in Brixton, whose model augmented the historic auditorium by having additional screens placed on adjoining sites.
In the case of the Ritzy cinema complex, an expanded foyer, cafe, new screens and toilets were added to the cinema that was initially listed in 1911. Its old facade that was partially damaged by war was restored partially as a quid pro quo purposely for a slightly less in comparison to authentic restoration of the entire auditorium. Further additions of sharp and contemporary lighting fittings together with state-of-the-art seats offer a modern film-going environment whose ambience fits the conservative point of view (Trevor-Jones, 2002, p. 8).
This would not be a novel concept as it has been tried elsewhere successfully. The government of Barbados, for instance, can considering coming up with a Heritage Lottery Fund in a similar manner to the UK. The fund raised, in copying the UK approach, would be sufficient to restore the and conserve the building together with the other heritage sites in Barbados. Adaptive Reuse For relevance purposes, it may require the government to convert the building to undertake a change of its use. Such a change in use is likely to require refurbishment or complete renovation of the building’s structures.
Changing the function of the building may involve significant internal space reorganization and service replacement or upgrades. Applying adaptive reuse to heritage building retains the building and conserves the effort, skill and dedication of its original workers. Adaptive reuse of the building may assist the local government in its quest to lower the economic, social and environmental cost of continued urban development and expansion. At the same time, it would be transforming a heritage building into an accessible and useable place ad add the benefit of regenerating an area sustainably.
The benefits are making it clearer that reusing the heritage buildings is a beneficial way of any regeneration programme. Past negative views on adaptive reuse arose because many building developers and owners consider reuse to be unviable option because planning and building regulations are likely to limit their functioning. Significant to an urban center, adaptive reuse would conserve the social architectural, historical and cultural values, which make it to be viewed as a form of heritage conservation.
Progressively, there has been a trend in which heritage is no longer restricted to monumental, prestigious or historically significant buildings. Presently, even building of more vernacular origins, under which the Empire State fall, are also considered to have heritage value. The practical results of adaptive reuse as well as the conceptual values of conservation efforts support the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings as a means to conserve them (Bullen & Love, 2011, p. 412). On environmental performance, the Empire Cinema building even following adaptive reuse may fail to attain the desired standards of new buildings.
In addition, it may have reached a state in which even adaptive reuse is uneconomical or its layout is inappropriate for change of function, especially as a commercial building. Nevertheless, reusing it rather than replacing would be the most resource-effective strategy of offering accommodation (Bullen & Love, 2011, p. 413). Considerations in Conservation In dealing with the Empire Cinema, it is essential to treat its refurbishment on its own merits because it carries its own risks. The risks relate to the age, character and scale of the building.
In refurbishing the building, it is essential for the project manager to be acquainted with the pitfalls that are normally associated with refurbishment operations. Such is particularly relevant for renovation works located in busy or urban-center locations. Various structural, social-economic and functional needs instigate refurbishment work and they can also place specific barriers to success of refurbishment efforts. Notably, some of the barriers arise due to lack of information regarding the management of urban center logistics and the impacts that the constrains have on ensuring the renovation project runs efficiently (Kangwa, et al. 2010, p. 441).
Building conservation is not only applicable in architecture but it is embraced in urban planning, environmental politics, urban economics, housing, tourism and regeneration. The topic has previously attracted and continues to attract intense but intermitted attention from media and national politicians who consider it to be part of their ideological self-projection and from various international cultural organizations. At the center of this, heritage is a story that is firmly knitted into the wide trajectory of modernity (Glendinning, 2013, p. ). Successful preservation of Empire Cinema is dependent on the continued use together with daily care and maintenance that accompany its use.
The possibility of continued use is dependent on the adaptation of the old building to the present-day standards and culture that invariably calls for changes in some of the structural or constructional features of the building. In particular, the structure tends to be the prime determinant of the shape of the building and thus it ultimately influences the aesthetic value of the building (Forsyth (a), 2007, p. ). Conservation Process Prior to undertaking any conservation work on the Empire Cinema, it is crucial to understand the building by conducting a careful assessment of the building’s history, the decay of its fabric together and the causes. Renovation works ought to be aware of the history of the building to ensure that later intervention, repair and treatment works remain at a minimum. The building would require an archival investigation followed by a survey of its structure and fabric.
The measures would make it possible to come up with a conservation plan assessing the things that need to be done and the repair technologies and techniques to be used (Forsyth (b), 2007, p. 5). Notably, major changes are necessary to modify or extend the use of the Empire Cinema considering the long period of neglect. The modifications would be for updating the style of the building. The first task would be to conduct investigations by combining archival research and on-site surveys. In carrying out the investigations, the necessary caution and basic knowledge of the technology applied in the historic building is necessary.
Upon establishing this information, the next phase would be to assess the building and come up with a conservation plan. The document establishes the architectural history of the building and provides the policy for the proposed conservation works. It would upon the architect to decide the degree of renovations required and views on whether to respect the intentions that the original architect had or to respect the history of the building itself (Forsyth(b), 2007, p. 5). In making decisions, it is essential that the architect plans the work to satisfy the requirements for safety and function in a manner that fits the building.
It is of paramount significance to protect life and safety legislation would exceed the other everyday situations (Forsyth (b), 2007, p. 6). Conclusion The debate about plans to restore the Empire Cinema has mainly been promoted by politicians. It becomes necessary for the relevant authorities to understand and balance the interests of various stakeholder groups. Tackling various issues would require the government to identify the various stakeholders who are part of conserving the Empire cinema and establish their identities, interests and roles.
By doing so, it would be possible to have been insights into the public’s preference towards conservation of the building and come up with systemic ways of analyzing, resolving and balancing the different and often competing interests of various stakeholders. As Yung & Chan (2013, p. 558) advance the government ought to strike a careful balance between conservation efforts and economic development, an aspect that poses major barriers to success ensuring that built heritage conservation is sustainable.