Palace Cinemas


Leichhardt, NSW



Project Description

Located in the busy Italian stronghold of Leichhardt, the Norton Street Cinemas are an eight screen art house cinema complex, with ground floor retail and car parking, adapted from a 1970’s portal framed warehouse.

This project is an addition to the 1997 four cinema TZG designed building, to take up the increase in demand. The new street frontage of the building maintains the original building’s expressive functionalist approach, where the forms generated by internal uses emerge at the face of the building. The tenancies inside push forward to display their contents.

The composition of the facade is strengthened by the use of light, which glows in solid forms, contained by backlit translucent sheeting and glowing fins over the entrance. The exterior is part rugged, part refined, a design strategy to accommodate large span and high speed prefabricated construction.

When we watch a movie, projected light is reflected off a cinema screen, creating a highly contrived moving image, a translation in light of the film maker’s vision.

The foyer’s reflective ceiling employs a similar technique, reflecting the actions of patrons, in an ad-hoc manner, their random movements and colours cast across the black surface. The foyer’s visual detail is energised by the movement and apparel of patrons. The more patrons, the more movement and colour, and the greater the visual energy.

Reflection, translucency and screening are employed to create an atmospheric foyer, setting the scene for the next few hours of cinematic escapism. The reflective ceiling, made of stretched reflective black fabric (Barasol), traces the movement of patrons. The translucent facade, made of insulating translucent multi-wall sheeting (Dupont), filters and insulates the western sun. The zinc perforated screens pixelate the movement of patrons and the stationary Palace Centurion.

Additional mirrors create deliberate internal reflections in selected locations, often hiding intrusive services: this device conjures up some mystique in the space.


Tim Greer, Julie Mackenzie, Jeremy Hughes, Belinda Pajkovic


1999 Dulux Colour Awards
2000 Metal Building Award of Merit