How the Seaside got Sexy

Atlantic City, New Jersey used to be the place to go when it was hot; it was not too far from New York and was a great vacation spot. In the UK, people used to go to the seaside, the piers, away from the cities by short, convenient train rides. However when plane travel became affordable and fast, the nearby seaside resorts all faded away.

Now, in the UK anyways, they are enjoying a revival as people look for ways to vacation closer to home, and top designers are moving in to make these tired old seasides more interesting and viable. They are demonstrating, like Gehry did in Bilbao, how good architecture is transformative.

The coolest intervention is Thomas Heatherwick's East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton. Stephen Bayley in the Observer said "Apart from being a pleasure in its own right, the ambition is that the East Beach Cafe might be the grit that forms a pearl, beginning a cultural and social revival of the sadly neglected South Coast. Before Heatherwick, Littlehampton had been a frankly dismal final chapter in the terrible history of the English seaside." Images from ::Dezeen

"It is a subtle execution of a simple idea: the steel carapace is both symbol and form, designed with 3D computer modelling and the assistance of civil engineers Adams Kara Taylor. It is a monocoque : a self-supporting stressed structure, more like a racing car than a conventional building. The interior is simple and functional: you are quite literally inside a 'shell'. Floor is washable resin, walls sprayed with a soft-to-the-touch insulating foam often used in barn conversions. Sixty can eat inside. More can eat outside on decking, shaded by eaves while enjoying the sight of the ocean and a field of sea cabbages the council promises to plant. Personally, I can't wait." ::Observer

Read about other UK seaside revitalizations in the ::Times Online

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