In last Friday’s Times, Harry Mount penned a piece about the Modernism that is beginning to infuse rural architecture.
Typically, the countryside has been architecturally staid, with new properties cleaving firmly to the styles of old: thatched cottages, brick piles and Tudor mansions. But this is beginning to change.
New architectural projects often involve difficult choices – especially in Britain. We live in a crowded country: there are 660 of us squeezed into every square mile of land we have, versus 83 Americans, or 295 Frenchmen. This puts developable land at a high premium.
Demolition of the crumbling Granada cinema on Portland Road, Hove, is now underway. The site is being redeveloped by Conran and Partners‘ Brighton office, and will encompass 35 flats, a GP surgery, a pharmacy and a separate leisure space.
It is a controversial project: undoubtedly, the loss of a 1930s art deco cinema, even if derelict, is notable. The local community has been divided on the project: many have mourned the loss of an historic cinema; others note that the dilapidated state of the building does little for Hove’s image, and that new housing is badly needed in the town.
The derelict cinema building
We’ve led restoration projects throughout our existence: Terence Conran teamed up with Paul Hamlyn to save Michelin House, and our recent Boundary development resides in a sensitively-restored Victorian warehouse. Sadly, the Granada cinema was beyond saving.
The new building will have high sustainability credentials, and will include 14 affordable units. The flats will have roof terraces with sea views, and a shared garden to the rear. In a nod to the site’s heritage, the corner of the building will be clad in multi-coloured Roman bricks, Additionally, an artist is being commissioned for an installation in the stairwell, which will be inspired by the memory of the cinema, or perhaps of Diana Dors, who opened the building as a bingo hall in the 70s.
We may have seen the last of the sun for a while so this weekend might just be the perfect opportunity for catching up with some culture around the capital.
Whenever we try and distill the essence of ‘What is Conran’ we are invariably drawn back to the things that have had a major influence on Terence over the years.
As eclectic as the projects we work on they range from everything from engineering to bauhaus, French markets, Indian crafts and butterflies to life below stairs in grand British stately homes.
A key influence in Terence’s design history is the Art Deco movement which has inspired him in many developments from ceramics to pillowcases.
'Deco' from the Bed by Conran range
If you’re a fan too and fancy perusing a selection of original Deco objects from the 1920s head down to Eltham Palace this weekend for the Art Deco fair where stalls will be selling everything from jewellery to furniture. While you’re there have a look around the building itself, it’s among the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the UK.
Check out all the details here