Owen Architects


Downham Market

Apartment Building, Norfolk


Copthorne Developments

Contract value

£3.5 million



A new apartment building was proposed in the historic centre of Downham Market, converting a disused 1920s cinema.

The long sloping site was prominent in the town centre and fronted onto two very different roads. Each street elevation needed a different treatment with careful use of materials and scale. The High Street facade contained a Listed art deco foyer, which required the design to be discussed, developed and agreed with English Heritage. The foyer entrance was to be retained within the new scheme and restored to its former glory. On the higher road to the rear responded to a more domestic scale with a new range of town houses.

The main body of the existing cinema was a large blank brick shed which dominated the skyline. This was replaced by a range of apartments. Due to the comparative height above its neighbours, the roof line took the form of soft curves to relieve the visual impact.

A terraced courtyard was incorporated in the middle of the scheme to connect different levels and provide a shared open play space.

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