Brighton & Hove Open Door event

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is partnering with The Regency Town House, Brighton Open Door’s organisers to offer unique access and behind-the-scenes, architect-led tours of some of the city’s most extraordinary heritage buildings for Heritage Open Days 2017

This is the largest heritage festival in the UK, managed by the National Trust. The Chair of RIBA Sussex Branch, Paul Zara has said: “Brighton & Hove has a fantastic recent architectural heritage. The RIBA’s involvement in Heritage Open Days and work with The Regency Town House on Brighton & Hove Open Door has given us a new opportunity to showcase our wonderful city and the achievements in conservation being made by architects”.

On the 7th September 2017, ZST architects will be leading three tours of the award-winning conversion and restoration of The Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue. The lead architect will talk about the project and the issues encountered in the restoration of this historic building within Brunswick Town conservation area.

For a long time, the synagogue struggled to find a solution to the limitations of their site. While the existing fabric of the building declined, the maintenance costs rose and the building couldn’t be occupied. The congregation had to move to temporary facilities within Hove for its religious and social activities and to create suitable spaces for the needs of the community whilst retaining the existing building.

The design of the building had sustainability at its heart with thermally well-insulated timber walls, floors, and roofs. The holiest place in the Synagogue, the Ark, was also built in timber and painted in vibrant colours, the design reflected the importance of inclusion, diversity and a warm embrace into the building. Visit on Thursday 7 September at 11am, 1pm and 3pm for around 45 minutes. Pre-booking is essential.

Synagogue 1939 front

1939 Frontage

ZSTa new interior Hove Progressive Synagogue
1939 synagogue interior Hove

1939 Interior

Synagogue Hove internal stair case

Other key sites opening their doors will be;-

Saltdean Lido – A Modernist Marvel on the Sussex Coast Tour behind the scenes of this Grade II* listed building, which reopened in June after refurbishment. Designed by R W H Jones in the 1930s, architects in Conran and Partners’ Brighton office have advised extensively on its restoration and revitalisation. Tours will be for 30 minutes on Thursday 7 September at 6.30pm and at 7.30pm and on Sunday 10 September at 11am, 12noon, 1pm and 2pm. Pre-booking is essential.


Tour of One and Three Saltdean Drive When designing houses next to a unique heritage building such as Saltdean Lido, what are the issues? Should the new building seem to disappear, or mimic the existing one? Come and see the new houses and find out from local architect Kim Strasman what the challenges were – you will understand ‘heritage’ in a whole new way. Visit on Friday 8 September, 2pm-3.30pm. Pre-booking is essential.


The Level’s Velo Café – Building in a Landscape Take a look at the design and construction of the café with Sasha Bhavan of Knox Bhavan Architects. The building, which sits at the heart of The Level’s restored landscape is a flagship building for the Council and champions sustainable design. Visit on Saturday 9 September, 10am-11am. Pre-booking is essential.


Tour of RIBA Regional Award Winning Cairns Tower and Music School Brighton College has recently added several new buildings to its site, joining buildings by Sir George Gilbert Scott and Sir Thomas Graham Jackson. See the buildings added in the past decade and hear their stories, including the boarding house by Allies and Morrison. Tour on Thursday 7 September, 11am-12.30pm. Pre-booking is essential.


Spence Buildings at the University of Sussex Join this tour with architect Philip Naylor of R H Partnership, which worked on the regeneration of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. The practice has worked closely with the University on a number of their campus buildings. Tours on Thursday 7 September, 9am-11am and Friday 8 September, 9am-11am. Pre-booking is essential


The Regency Town House has full listings and a downloadable programme for Brighton & Hove Open Door on its website which includes all architect- and architecture-focused events under the heading ARCHITECTURE.


You can search for Love Architecture events across the UK on the national Heritage Open Days website and then by clicking on ‘More search options’ and ticking ‘RIBA – Love Architecture’.