The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Existing cinema, facing Brunswick Square Gardens
A-framed construction detail of Brunswick Centre
View of formal entrance of Centre from shopping parade
Restaurant proposals above cinema by architects Levitt Bernstein

Eyecatcher or Eyesore? Twentieth Century Society backs local campaign against Brunswick Centre extension plans

The Twentieth Century Society has joined local residents and architects in objecting to the addition of a large restaurant structure at the Brunswick Centre in London that we fear would harm this grade II listed complex.

Named the ‘Eyecatcher’, a long rectangular box would sit within the grand entrance portico opposite the Brunswick Square Gardens, wedged over and considerably wider than the existing Renoir Cinema. It would block views into and out of the historic estate and obstruct dramatic views of the structural frame of the building that are only visible from underneath the portico.

“The Brunswick Centre is one of Britain’s great modernist masterpieces. Wedging a long rectangular box into the void of the grand entrance portico and on top of the Renoir cinema would harm this grade II listed building, and overshadow the piazza below.” said Henrietta Billings, Senior Conservation Adviser, Twentieth Century Society. “We would also lose fantastic public views up into the vast concrete A-framed structure of the complex that are only visible from this space under the portico. It’s the wrong development in the wrong place, ” she added.

Catherine Croft, Director of the Twentieth Century Society said, “We are urging Twentieth Century Society members and others to support the local residents’ petition. The Brunswick Centre is already very commercially successful. We think adding extra volume in this space would jeopardise the fabulous architecture which underlies the retail success of the Centre.”

So far over 350 people, including architect Richard Rogers and former Cabe chairman Paul Finch, have put their names to the petition calling on Camden Council to refuse the plans. To sign the petition, click here.


Notes to Editors:

The Brunswick Centre, built to the designs of Patrick Hodgkinson in 1967-72 by was listed at grade II in 2000 largely in response to the importance of its pioneering reinforced concrete ‘A-framed’ megastructure construction. The formal double height entrance to the shopping mall opposite Brunswick Square is the only public place where the framework of the structure is left open save for the cinema.

On the Brunswick Gardens elevation, the scale of the portico and the transparency it provides in this part of the complex is an important part of the experience and appreciation of the architecture. The Brunswick centre itself is a ‘set text’ for architecture students at several London architecture schools who regularly visit the site to study its complex structure, and it is a long established popular destination on Open House Weekend and other architectural tours.

We are concerned that the proposed restaurant extension, that will sit on top of the Renoir cinema, will cause harm to the significance of the grade II listed Brunswick Centre for the following reasons:

For further information please contact Catherine Croft or Henrietta Billings on 020 7250 3857 or