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The Picture House: a dramatic revival

Part 2 Project 2013
Rachel Delargy
Queen's University Belfast, UK
Cinema endures because of its unparalleled power to effect transcendence. In the darkness of the theatre, an audience experiences the performance at a visceral level. For the philosopher Merleau-Ponty it is an immersion. My confidence in film as a transformative medium has convinced me that a cinema should be at the centre of plans to reinvigorate an Irish border town where a series of economic blows has stunted development. Clones had prospered by being located where road and rail routes from north and south converged. However after the removal of train services, the town began a long period of stagnation. The proposal for a Picture House, which includes rooms for exhibiting both moving and still images, would provide a focal point for Clones as well as a permanent venue for the annual film festival. Local writer Patrick McCabe made the town famous in his novel The Butcher Boy which, when subsequently turned into a film, focused attention on Clones. This cinematic dimension adds to the appropriateness of the proposition.

The Picture House will help Clones reclaim, from the car, a space in the middle of the town known as the Diamond which currently exists as a car park. The project involves the reinstatement of laneways radiating from the town centre as well as the removal of roads and the establishment in the Diamond of a single ground surface of grey granite.

Grey is the dominant colour in the townscape with civic buildings constructed of granite. My intention is to use this colour as the backdrop for images being exhibited and projected in the gallery and cinema. Practically I would achieve that effect by using concrete with a granite aggregate and render coloured with charcoal.

The building’s shape and character is derived from both its position within the town and my enthusiasm for the Baroque, an architecture which, it is said, is experienced rather than appraised. The innate theatricality also seems in harmony with the idea of the Picture House. The drama taking place on the screen expressing itself in the form I have imagined for the building.

Rachel Delargy


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