Depot Cinema, Lewes

The Brief

The Depot Cinema was developed from the thoughtful redevelopment of the former Harveys Brewery depot in the heart of the town. The resulting independently run 3 screen not-for-profit community cinema is located adjacent to the railway station.

The venue was designed to be a focal point for the local community. Three screens providing a total of 306 seats were carefully incorporated within the retained brick shell of the former warehouse. A large glazed extension allows the original depot structure to remain fully visible creating an historic backdrop to the new box office, café bar and restaurant. The formerly tarmacked service yard was transformed into a community garden and public realm space with clever landscaping creating a small orchard and wild flower meadow.


Lewes Community Screen


Lewes, Suffolk


Burrell Foley Fischer


14,472 ft²


  • Entertainment & Creative Industries
  • Culture
  • Community


  • Cost Consultancy

The Challenge

The Depot was designed and built on environmentally responsible principles with a determination to create a venue with the lowest possible impact on the climate. Cinemas use a lot of energy, so minimising energy consumption was a key challenge for the project team. A ground source heat pump, which involved boring twelve pipes to a depth of 200 m, now serves as the building’s geothermal heating and cooling system, and solar panels provide a renewable energy source.

A living roof planted with local chalk and Down-land plant species provides excellent heat and sound insulation and prevents excessive water run-off. Local materials were sourced wherever possible, with the use of local pebbles and shingle becoming a prominent design feature. Double glazed curtain walling, water saving systems, roof vents and shutters and automated lighting all contributed to the building being awarded an EPC A rating. 

The Outcome

The venue has fulfilled the Client’s brief of becoming an award winning community hub. Alongside an innovative programme of mainstream, arthouse and independent films; it has become home to film festivals, live art events and creative and educational workshops. The auditoria feature high specification seating, with Dolby Atmos 7.1 sound plus 2K and 4K projection technology.

The project received a RTPI award for excellence in planning for culture & heritage, a National Building Excellence award for best public service building and was also a finalist in the Civic Trust Southern regional awards 2018.

Total No. cinema seats
Number species of wildlife friendly plants
Total staff + volunteers
“The type and range of uses and the quality and flexibility of internal and external spaces.. add to the town’s vibrancy as a cultural destination.”
Design Officer
South Downs National Park Authority

Other Projects We’ve Completed Include


ICON Outlet & Entertainment Space

Southbank Centre Festival Wing