IMax London - London, UK

Avery Associates Architects
Date Built
A traffic island on Waterloo Road
The British Film Institute's IMAX theatre occupies a traffic roundabout on Waterloo Road, not far from Waterloo railway station.  This drum-shaped glass building is home to a 500 seat IMAX cinema featuring a screen that is 26m x 20m and a 12,000 watt digital surround sound-system.  The architects say of it that, "The sophistication of the projection system is matched by the construction technology. The site is surrounded by traffic and with the Waterloo and City tube line just 4 metres below the surface, the entire upper superstructure sits on anti-vibration bearings to prevent the transfer of noise. The form of the building responds to the hostile acoustic environment too. The site is a sunken traffic island on one of the main routes into London and is completely surrounded by traffic. The full height glazed gallery not only provides an added zone of acoustic separation but also expresses externally the character of the activities within."

The website describes the building as resembling a giant glass gas storage tank.  It adds that,  "The massive glass walls allow people outside to see designs on the inside, and allow people inside to see the city moving around it."  Reflecting on the role of this building and others to rehabilitate an area of London that had become a gathering place for the city's homeless, the website says that, "Within months of the theater opening, there was a renewed vibrancy, and the start of urban renewal."