The New Highland Cinema in Fort William

November 30, 2020

Dualchas were delighted to see the newly designed and built Fort William Highland Cinema open its doors in September 2020. 

This vibrant new highland movie theatre, designed and created by Dualchas, now stands as a cultural hub on Fort William’s High Street. It has been earmarked as the key element in the recent regeneration of the town centre, and the design provided by Dualchas has a distinct Highland character that blends in well with it’s quant surroundings.  

This project was completed in just two short years and the team at Dualchas is extremely proud of the work that was carried out (hence why we’re boasting about it in this blog post).  
 

How the new Fort William Cinema was built  

Our client had a clear vision for a new cinema in Fort William to help improve the social life, look and environment of the town centre.

He approached Glasgow architects, Dualchas in late summer 2018, and just over two years later the building was opened for business.

This required a remarkable team effort over a short space of time to achieve planning, building warrant, demolition, construction, commissioning, specialist installations and an opening event, all within two years.

All of this and more was managed, despite the job taking place on a problematic, restricted town centre site. In addition, the team had to work through the unforeseen obstacles that the Covid-19 pandemic brought about in 2020. The fact the project was complete on time and as specified is a credit to the excellent teamwork and comradery shown by Dualchas  
 

highland cinema in fort william
 

Why was a new highland movie theatre needed in Fort William? 

The project site, Cameron Square, originally housed the old town hall, but was more recently home of the tourist office and Studio Cinema building in Fort William. The cinema closed in 2005 and had been deemed unsustainable in its current form. A shop operated at ground level, but the building had become dilapidated and was creating a negative, gloomy presence on the square. 

Our design sought to place a new ‘hall’ on the square to serve as a café, bar, meeting area and performance space.  

This space is open to the public from morning to evening and has a welcoming outlook. Behind this, the ‘black boxes’ of the cinemas and supporting services are partly submerged into the land to reduce their bulk and help to improve the lanes to either side of the building.  

The scale of the pitched roof forms is reminiscent of local village halls and distillery warehouses. The stone of the front block was reclaimed from a derelict sheep fank, and the bold red roof was a specific request of the client’s and has become an important part of the cinema’s graphic identity. 

This project illustrates that a vision can be developed and delivered in a relatively short space of time to produce a bespoke new building that the town of Fort William can be proud of. We hope the new cinema space can bring joy and prosperity to Fort Wiliam for many years to come! 

This highland cinema project was achieved through hard work and a positive attitude of collaboration within our team of designers and architects in Scotland. 

The team included: Galbraith; 3B Construction; David Narro Associates; Harley Haddow; ARC Cinema Consultants; Sandy Brown Associates; Hamish Bell Associates 
 

How can I visit the Fort William Cinema? 

The opening of the new Highland cinema is the start of an exciting new chapter for the town center of Fort William. We hope that the long-term social and economic benefits will be felt for generations. 

The Highland Cinema is now fully open for business seven days a week. You can find more information on the Fort William cinema tickets and opening times via the link.  

If you are interested in having your own personal or community project designed, constructed and created by Dualchas, please don't hesitate to reach out to our friendly architectural team today. 

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