BFI Mediatheque

London, UK (2007)

The BFI is conceived as a rehearsal for their ultimate goal: a new national film centre in London.

The venue formerly known as the National Film Theatre reopened to the public on 14 March 2007 as BFI Southbank. The venue is nestled underneath Waterloo Bridge, having expanded into the former Museum of the Moving Image.

As part of the £5 million refurbishment, Adjaye Associates was invited to design the Mediatheque — a viewing lounge where members of the public can instantly access the British Film Institute’s unparalleled ar­chive. The collection includes more than 250,000 international films and over half a million television programs which could previously only be accessed on request or at special screenings.

When the Mediatheque opened only “a fraction” of the available mate­rial had been digitised. 14 articulated plasma screens set in comfortable booths serve as relaxing viewing stations where visitors can be immersed in the world’s greatest and most diverse collection of film and television footage. The space features a dark, woven vinyl floor and bespoke furni­ture. The aluminium honeycomb panel faced with translucent polycarbonate is backlit to lend a soft, diffused light. The directors of the BFI perceive the new building as a rehearsal for their ultimate goal: a new national film Centre in London.