Oldham Town Hall

Re-use strategy turned everything on its head

Oldham Town Hall by BDP.
Oldham Town Hall by BDP. Credit: Nick Caville

BDP for Oldham Council

Contract value: £37m

GIA: 8,100m²

This is the unlikely conversion of a grand collection of grade II listed civic buildings that formed Oldham’s Town Hall into a cinema complex.

The re-use strategy turned everything on its head. A vertically organised ‘served’ terrace of original buildings is now accessed by a ‘servant’ lateral circulation. Original frontages are now the back and the side, and the old rear facade has been opened up  and celebrated with glazing to overlook the new, public Parliament Square from the circulation space.

  • Oldham Town Hall by BDP.
    Oldham Town Hall by BDP. Credit: Nick Caville
  • Oldham Town Hall by BDP.
    Oldham Town Hall by BDP. Credit: Nick Caville
  • Oldham Town Hall by BDP.
    Oldham Town Hall by BDP. Credit: Nick Caville
  • Oldham Town Hall by BDP.
    Oldham Town Hall by BDP. Credit: Nick Caville
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The section is well considered. Placing the cinema entrance at the top of the square allows an active frontage to nestle under a new ‘piano nobile’ as the slope drops away. Perpendicular to this grand facade, the space connects to each of the screens, inserted into the original building.

In all, it’s a bold and simple idea that has retained much of a significant monument to Oldham’s past through the considered design of its future. 


Regional Conservation Award