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Friday18 August 2017

Haworth Tompkins to replace Gehry's mothballed 'wonky towers' scheme

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Stirling Prize winner and LA Architects to lead designs for leisure centre in Hove

Haworth Tompkins and LA Architects have been chosen by Brighton and Hove Council to design a replacement leisure centre on the site of Frank Gehry’s failed ‘wonky towers’ scheme.

The Hove seafront site, called King Alfred, has been in limbo for after Gehry’s controversial £290 million scheme was scrapped in 2008. The project had been dubbed ‘tin-can alley’ at the time by local residents opposed to the proposals.

The new scheme will see LA Architects join Tompkins to design a leisure complex, public square and a community art centre as well as retail outlets, offices and 560 new mixed-tenure homes over the basement car park.

The redevelopment will be led by Crest Nicholson and local Hove-based charity The Starr Trust in partnership with the council.

Haworth Tompkins founding partner Steve Tompkins said: “Three years ago, at a public meeting at the King Alfred Centre, [Starr founder] Rob Starr, [Starr director] Darren Abrahams, my co-director Graham Haworth and myself promised that we would do our best to deliver a new development worthy of this extraordinary site.

“We are delighted to have now been selected by the council to carry out that task, and along with The Starr Trust, Crest Nicholson and LA Architects we are very much looking forward to re-engaging with the Hove community as we prepare to submit a planning application later in the year.”

Once complete, the new development will also fill in a missing link in the two-mile promenade from Brighton’s Palace Pier.

 

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Readers' comments (9)

  • I thought I disliked the arbitrary wonky scheme, but this seems bland and predictable, despite the golden cladding. Or am I missing something? Can't you just hear the wind whistling down that neat rectilinear space, can't you just see the chain stores and food outlets lining up...

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  • Philistine? And that’s being generous! This proposal actually makes the Gehry scheme attractive : never thought I’d catch myself saying such a thing : probably a case of Autocad morons in charge of things : just press “array”???!!!

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  • What a shame , Gehry's scheme was far far superior. This looks worse even than most beach side developments you get abroad. I dont know Hove at all but maybe all the residents in Hove are very bland as well in which case they will probably like it.

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  • Austin Clegg

    From wonky towers to wanky towers.

    Brighton does not need this. This is 2016 not 1970.

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  • Pathetic. What is it with planners and architects these days? Absolutely no idea. This is a prime seafront site that needs a development of grace and distinction. This is a stone's throw from Hove's glorious Georgian terraces for heaven's sake.

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  • Prosaic at best.

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    You guys would have found Georgian London "boring and predictable"

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  • It lacks "grace and distinction" as Stewart Taylor says and the reaction in Brighton & Hove to the actual design has been exactly as here and nearly unanimously negative. It is blatantly clone-town generic.

    The Gehry towers were just two cruciform concrete blocks with crumpled, window-perforated aluminium sheets meant to be tacked hither and thither up around them (outside of balconies btw). And in a terrorist age, the exploding and flying coloured panels that were the leisure centre roof were questionable. The rest of it was Piers Gough and HOK - not Gehry.

    BHCC prioritised financial viability and leisure centre content this time and it is hoped that the actual architecture will change (as it did last time) before the planning stage.

    Formal public consultation on plans (before a scheduled January 2017 submission of the planning application) is due from June. From now a few of us are being given a look at more than the 4 released CGI's but, frustratingly, are asked not to share any images! Suggestions and feedback are being sought but it remains to be seen whether design changes will actually happen.

    We are told that the planning department was involved in the selection process that resulted in this bid being chosen. Presumably they think it can get consent as is.

    As last time (but at an earlier stage) I hope demands will be made and met to off-house some of the flats - half of them at least. This is a swamping overdevelopment.

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  • As a Hove resident it's the gold lamé leisure centre in the style of a 1960s shopping precinct that concerns me, especially as seen in pic 3.

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