ZST architect's Partner Nick Stickland, talks us through the proposed transformation of the appearance and function of Brighton’s Brutalist Tower Point building.
ZST architects were appointed to transform the appearance and function
of the Tower Point building through the construction of a new
landmark rooftop restaurant and 4 penthouse apartments. The proposal is currently in planning with a decision due in July
The existing Tower Point is a large Brutalist building which is conspicuous within the city, but not engaging with its local environment. The Brutalist façade dominates the setting, yet it remains mute and uninspiring. ZSTa believe that the individuality of the building could be more of an asset within the townscape; providing a point of intrigue within the backdrop of Brighton’s central valley.
The site was originally occupied by the Hippodrome Circus in 1891, later best known as the ‘Grand Theatre,’ which was eventually destroyed by fire in 1961. The replacement building which now stands on the site, Gresham House, had its name changed in early 2000 to Tower Point.
Whilst the existing building does not make a positive contribution to the visual impact of the town’s landscape, ZSTa have proposed the opportunity to offer something more visually engaging to the experience of the pedestrian viewer. Allowing the building to draw attention to itself and in this way positively engage with its context as a confident representation of Brighton as a city destination.
The proposal has the opportunity to offer something more architecturally and visually engaging, and to enrich the experience of the pedestrian viewer as well of the users of the building. The design approach taken here is to respond to, transform and build-upon (literally and figuratively) the existing architecture of the building rather than replicate any particular style which may be discovered in this eclectic setting.
A one storey extension of the lower Spring Gardens block will balance the composition of the existing building elements and create a distinct and tangible new element, the restaurant. With an oval overhanging roof of gold coloured material playing with the light, the restaurant will have 88 internal covers and 84 further covers to external terraces. The central bar will create a focal point within the space and all facilities are kept to one end, obscuring the view of the existing building and keeping the unrivalled panoramic view of the sea open to the diners. This also serves as a distinctive beacon at the top of Tower Point, creating a strong identity within the city.
Additionally, ZSTa are also proposing the extension of the existing roof top to create four new penthouse apartments. The extension will sit symmetrically on the geometry of the building to cap the current flat roof more elegantly. The proposed rooftop extension will be minimalist in design with metallic panelling punctuated by picture windows and a terrace space to each apartment looking out over the city. The penthouses will be set well back from the building edge to prevent any feeling of additional overbearing to the surrounding streets.
The composition of these distinct new elements will transform the presentation of Tower Point within its setting and engage the building more effectively within its immediate and macro contexts.