Gainsborough Film Studios, famous for its connection with Alfred Hitchcock, is about to be transformed into a multi-use residential and business complex.
Its site, on the corner of New North Road and the Grand Union Canal, lies in an increasingly trendy area. Film director Guy Ritchie shot scenes there for his latest venture, Snatch, and last summer Ralph Fiennes trod the boards of the local Almeida theatre as Hamlet.
Over the next two years, what was once the set for Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes will be transformed by Shoreditch-based architect Munkenbeck and Marshall into four buildings with a central courtyard, sculpture garden and space for a restaurant.
Part of the Gainsborough building – originally a power station that generated electricity for the East London Tube line – will be retained, with a modern film studio on the lower floors and flats above. The rest will be demolished along with the Victorian warehouse on the New North Road side of the site.
The Gainsborough complex's landscaped piazza will lead to a new walk along the neighbouring Grand Union Canal – a water channel will be built to bring the canal into the courtyard. A sculpture of Hitchcock's head, by the artist Anthony Donaldson, will be another feature of the courtyard.
YSL Construction is to start work in March once the old units have been demolished. Gainsborough Studios is developer on the project. Ellis and Moore is structural engineer, Dearling Associates is QS and Gillespies is landscape architect.