Currently on site, this project creates a spacious new cafe extending back from the Worthing seafront and an appropriate setting for a locally listed building.
The cafe occupies what was originally a small chalet manager’s office, adjacent to a two-storey ‘Belvedere’ and within a run of beach-front chalets now occupied largely by artists. The Belvedere, café and chalets form the western side of a symmetrical esplanade along the seafront, made famous in the 1980s by the film ‘Wish you Were Here’. The buildings and columns are clad in uncut ‘cobbled’ flint, giving it a rather heavy, defensive feel and a roughness that seems appropriate next to the sea. Behind the esplanade is the formal Beach House Gardens, with the new Splashpoint by Wilkinson Eyre to the eastern side. Although the view from Beach House gardens is rather functional and unattractive, with angular façades of red brickwork, we were required to protect the views of the Belvedere and to work carefully with the existing building itself as being of local historic interest. The scheme incorporates the Belvedere, currently a pedestrian underpass, opening it up to create a double height space with natural light from high level windows, but preserving its form within the building. New café seating will exploit views of both the sea and the gardens, with fold back doors to the rear. The building's kitchen and WC will be clad with a modern version of cobbled flint, giving a heavy base for the lightweight roof to float over. The roof design preserves the view of the Belvedere by using an exposed folded structure supported on a forest of slender columns. This allows the roof to drop down in front of the Belvedere and to fly out at its outer edges, distinguishing it dramatically from the existing building in both form and material.