Collaborative Architecture's proposal for Bexhill Shelters
A RIBA run competition to design a new series of seafront structures for the seaside resort of Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex saw over 140 anonymous entries. The eventual winning design came from young London architects Michael Tite and Tom Ebdon which allowed 'form to emerge from the requirement for shelter'. Another design presented, however, looked at the potential for beach interventions to connect and communicate beyond the fleeting messages of ‘follies’. That design was TOPOS-2 by Collaborative Architecture.
TOPOS-2 addresses the question: How could beach architecture transcend, deliberate attempts to create ‘follies’ as the signature and commonplace style dotted world over? Its design is a direction of these perimeters while meeting the aspirations of the brief to design shelters that keep out driving rain and gales on an exposed waterfront and to establish a narrative of regenerative intervention.
The resulting pavilions are simple cuboids, folded, squeezed, stretched, twisted and deformed to create instantly recognizable ‘spatial objects’. They, as a series, mimic the constantly changing flux-physical, associative and metaphorical; along the beach-line. An abstracted representation of their surroundings.
The individual plans of the pavilions take into account flexible use for a variety of beach related rituals and programs. The open plan allows diverse configurations for social interactions. The design also takes into account Bexhill community’s desire to create a ‘reinvented identity’ for the locale. Though the pavilions could stand as independent ‘objects’ along the promenade, they draw their significance as a ‘place making tool / catalyst’ from their unified architectural idiom.
The design is deliberate in its rejection of a typical modular design as one of the options mentioned in the brief.