Old Scala Theatre Conversion

conversion and renovation of a heritage structure for new use

Darkness embraced by damp walls, stain and decomposed material. A static box of muted sound

2006-2007 complete

client Durban University of Technology

location DUT Steve Biko Campus – Durban


A context marked by student life alongside the edge to a vibrant city. The Warwick Precinct, the pulsating western gateway into the CBD

respect and function

Rediscovering the Scala of Warwick, a simple cinema, nostalgic to the movie era of the sixties and seventies. Its history and previous spirit as a place of worth.

Ironically, this building was worthy of being torn down, however it has redeemed itself through its history of place and meaning, to create an opportunity for cultural identity within the city.

The function of providing a facility for student and staff dining, exhibition and information for specific functions and performances.


Regenerating elements of memory into a new life form becomes a prime generator to the architecture.

Materials, colour, texture

Robust affordable materials define the architectural character.

Existing materials and methods of construction are contrasted against contemporary installations.

Textures of the existing building have been naturally expressed against contemporary polished finishes, distinguishing contrast between old and new.

Subdued colours alluding to the past cinema establish a neutral backdrop to exhibitions and performances.

The dark grey is an interpretation of the dark cinema which is used to define all existing built form against the new installations, both internally and externally.