Submission for the RIBA Presidents Bronze Medal 2012
Shoreham Village of Moving Image
The film village, located on the site of Shoreham Fort, was once home to Sunny South Film Company in 1914. The village retains the nature of the fort with the main infrastructure hidden below the surface with only the tops of the towers visible from the sea.
Modern storage of film archives involves copying films on to digital formats as film becomes brittle and decays over time, however it is also copied on to new cellulose film as digital mediums can be just as temperamental, proving the ongoing need for the original medium. The tangible nature of the cellulose film allows students to learn about the value of time; every second of film takes up a physical space, which is limited by the length of the film reel. Film becomes precious, and so a careful consideration of what is to be filmed is needed.
Inspired by the edited reality of film sets and how they create the illusion of a complete world, the film school recreates the notion of a village. Surrounding a central square, (the theatre), the functional workings of the film school spider web out both above and below ground in a labyrinth of tunnels and cranes. Burrowing underground creates natural darkness for film processing and projection, at the same time aiding refrigeration for storage.
The infrastructure of the site allows for the flexibility of different sets to be created for different films through the use of facades. These facades can be positioned around the central core creating the illusion of a complete world. The facades divide the on and off screen worlds. The front of the facade acts as the stage and behind is the functioning film school. Historically facades were used to suggest what might be on the other side; here it is used to disguise it.
As the films are created on site and then screened in the subterranean theatre, the visiting audience is immersed in the film and become part of the surroundings creating a complete cinematic experience.