Public Venue for Cultural Activities – Reconversion from cinema hall to multiplex
, with arch. Giovanni Ballini
Apollo cinema in Milan, built in the 50’s, was a key element of the urban, architectural and functional redesign of the area at the time. This refurbishment project was the chance to have a new cinema complex with five screens in the hearth of Milan.
The ambition to have a project not only focused on cinema activities but a space able to host conferences or lectures, required a specific coordination in the design in architectonic, structural and technical requirements terms. The complexity of the newly built steel structure required specific work to reach the best acoustic comfort. In order to be multifunctional, many technological requirements has been installed (digital projection, Dolby Digital/DTS..). The acoustic system in the projection rooms was designed with active and passive correction systems, to optimize sound effects or a human voice with the best quality.
The climate comfort has been a studied element of comfort as well; for each room a specific treatment was planned depending on the size and the amount of expected users.
The original underground building in piazza del Liberty had its entrance in Galleria de Cristoforis. It was composed of a 800 seats parterre plus a gallery and two lateral balconies with other 450 seats. From the ticket office on the ground floor a monumental staircase led to the foyer on the first underground level, where there was the main entrance of the projection room. The technical rooms were located under the balconies.
The building was demolished along with its internal limits and the foundations were built on a lower level. With this intervention the internal surface grew from 2300sqm to 3500sqm.
The entrance of the building from Galleria de Cristoforis, was modified with a newly built staircase to get from the main foyer to the gallery. This ground level space hosted the ticket office.
On the first undergound floor, from the main foyer partially redesigned, the users could access two projection rooms (130 and 190 seats) with a new foyer in between the two.
The second foyer, characterized by a generous bar, led to the lower levels to reach the other screens (300, 150 and 140 seats). Along the stairs towards the lower projection rooms the users could see the difference in levels through several openings to understand how this articulated underground building worked.
Colors were used to identify spaces and constructive elements. The ‘way out’ paths were designed reusing the original projection room’s emergency exits.
Photo Santi Caleca