Monday, August 24, 2009

Occidental Tourist

Just next to the De La Warr Pavilion are some very strange cottages which represent a different, older kind of seaside architecture. They're in a sort of souped up Victoriana meets Orientalism style with little flattened minaret towers, bits of exotic ornamentation and overscaled chimneys.

They present a single storey elevation to the street which makes them look like much bigger houses that have had the tops cut off. In fact they negotiate a change in level between the coast road and the beach and are two or three stories high on the seaward side.

They aren't just cottages, but a series of terraces including an amusement arcade, a social club, and some boarded up shops and cafes. Go through the little arched corner entrance and you enter into a courtyard, open to the sky, around which the houses are grouped. They're a dinky, sheltered housing version of the Brighton Pavilion. This - before marine style modernism - was the default approach to building at the seaside: whimsical, decorative and camp but with a certain pragmatic realism mixed in too.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I loved these. Such a nice companion to the Pavilion, which was beautiful but squeaky clean.