Odeon Cinema, Elephant and Castle

Erno Goldfinger, London, 1966


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Main facade view 

The Architects' Journal     Download Original

  • Main facade view    
  • General view of Elephant and Castle    
  • General view    
  • General view of auditorium    
  • Concrete side wall two years after construction    
  • External view of escape stair    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Plan of auditorium    
  • Plan at projection room level    
  • Plans of lowest level and first basement    
  • Long section    
  • Cross Section    
  • Screen detail    

Cinema with a 1000-seat auditorium built with a bold free-standing screen and a single central entrance

The design expresses on the exterior the enclosed elements (auditorium, plant room and projection room) with the entrance foyer, designed as an extension of the pavement. Its glass walls with mullion free corners, emphasise the sloping soffit of the auditorium cantilevered toward the pavement.

The volume above the first floor level represents the service tower (in aluminium) with plant room, projection room (in ceramic tile) and the three main structural beams (in fair-faced concrete).

The auditorium is fan-shaped with access through the central alley and four side exits. Seating is set out with four aisles and one crossover. The screen is cantilevered from the rear wall, in front of it the auditorium is raised to form the ventilation chamber. The ceiling is stepped to allow linear ventilation grilles.

Sound insulation was achieved by means of a 30 cm solid concrete shell and inner walls were decorated with glass fibre vertical fins with intermediate panels of carpet. All structure, including external walls, is fairface, bush hammered or hacked concrete.


  • Begun: Jun 1964
  • Completed: Dec 1966
  • Floor area: 1,755m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £180,000
  • Tender date: May 1964
  • Procurement: RIBA fixed price with quantities
  • Address: New Kent Road, Elephant and Castle, London, SE1 6TJ, United Kingdom

Professional Team