BFI Riverfront London Building, British Film Institute Photos, Carmody Groarke Southbank Design

BFI Riverfront Southwest London

24 June 2022

Design: Carmody Groarke, Architects

Location: The British Film Institute, Southbank, central London, England, UK

BFI Riverfront London: British Film Institute
photo : Luke Hayes

RIBA Awards 2022 Winning Buildings and Architects

The BFI Riverfront is one of the 29 winners of the 2022 RIBA National Awards for architecture.

BFI Riverfront by Carmody Groarke in London

Jury Report

Burrowed beneath the arches of Waterloo Bridge, The British Film Institute ( BFI ) Southbank was originally built in the 1950s to accommodates the UK’s largest independent cinema house and National Film Archive. Prominently facing the river Thames, the BFI benefits from a steady stream of pedestrians enjoying the Southbank; however, its entrance had become outdated and poorly equipped to entice and welcome visitors. Carmody Groake has delivered a new identity and landmark entrance to BFI, blurring the territory between the Southbank promenade and the BFI, welcoming and alluring the public to step inside.

BFI Riverfront London: British Film Institute
photo : Carmody Groarke

A grand, canopy of cast fibreglass now glows boldly like a cinema screen, announcing the building’s cultural presence amongst other civic event architecture on the Southbank. This new architectural intervention provides a contrast to the aged Brutalism of Waterloo Bridge which arches over the BFI.

BFI Riverfront London: British Film Institute
photo : Carmody Groarke

Carmody Groake’s design has exposed the gigantic concrete rib structure of the underside of Waterloo Bridge, making it visible from the ground and first floors. Their new layout modernises the hospitality spaces at pavement level as well as providing a new bar and first-floor terrace where visitors can sit and marvel at the imposing bridge structure above and enjoy a new vantage point from which to appreciate the neighbouring, listed National Theatre and elevated vista across the Thames. Contrasting to the exterior, the interior of the new rooms is deliberately dark and brooding, heightening the atmospheric qualities of a visit to the cinema and acknowledging the arts institution’s engagement with both subculture as well as high culture.

BFI Riverfront London: British Film Institute
photograph : Carmody Groarke

The site presented Carmody Groake with a series of considerable technical challenges. Despite the difficulties of building on made ground, under an aging concrete structure that moves from season to season, the architects have deftly integrated complex servicing and acoustic requirements with exemplary detailing.

The judges were particularly impressed with how the architects have created a project that genuinely enhances a complex heritage setting, celebrating the Grade-II listed Waterloo Bridge and complimenting the Grade-II* listed National Theatre. The project is an exemplar of a modern intervention that subtly, but genuinely, enhances the appreciation, experience and understanding of a complex and layered heritage setting.

BFI Riverfront London: British Film Institute
photograph : Luke Hayes

BFI Riverfront, British Film Institute London – Building Information

Title: BFI Riverfront
RIBA region: London
Architect practice: Carmody Groarke
Date of completion: Dec 2018
Date of occupation: Feb 2019
Client company name: BFI
Project city/town: London

Contract value: Confidential
Gross internal area: 940.00 m²
Net internal area: 835.00 m²
Cost per m²: Confidential
Contractor company name: Private client


Structural Engineers: Price & Myers (Up to Stage 2)
Environmental / M&E Engineers: AECOM (Up to Stage 2)
Project Management: AECOM (Up to Stage 2)
Planning Cosultant: GL Hern (Up to Stage 2)
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant: AECOM (Up to Stage 2)
Structural Engineers: Peter Brett (Stage 3 onwards)

• RIBA Regional Award
• Regional Award Short List
• London Southwest

Carmody Groarke


RIBA Awards

BFI Riverfront London: British Film Institute images / information from The Royal Institute of British Architects

Address: The Riverfront, BFI Southbank, London SE1 8XT
Phone: 020 7928 0808

Location: King’s College London Waterloo Campus, Southbank, London, England, UK

BFI London – British Film Institute

BFI London Buildings – selection:

BFI Centre for Film, TV and the Moving Image
New BFI Centre for Film, TV & Moving Image
image courtesy of architects practice
BFI Film Centre

Design: Avery Associates Architects

BFI Architecture on TV season
BFI Architecture on TV season

South Bank London Buildings

Southbank Centre London : Masterplan

Royal Festival Hall Building
London County Council Architects’ Department ; Allies and Morrison Architects

Royal National Theatre, London
Denys Lasdun Architect

The Deck, National Theatre, London
A-EM Studio Ltd

London Eye

Website: BFI

London Architecture

Contemporary London Architecture Designs

London Architecture Designs – chronological list

London Architecture Walking Tours – tailored UK capital city walks by e-architect

London Architects Offices

London Architecture News

New London Buildings

Contemporary London Architecture Designs – more winners of the 2022 RIBA National Awards for architecture:

Sands End Arts and Community Centre design by Mæ Architects
Sands End Arts Community Centre - 2022 RIBA London Awards
photo © Rory Gardiner

Hackney New Primary School and 333 Kingsland Road, design by Henley Halebrown
Hackney New Primary School and 333 Kingsland Road
photo © Nick Kane

Guildford Crematorium, Godalming design by Haverstock
Guildford Crematorium Surrey building
photo : Simon Kennedy

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