Brighton Shelter Hall
Brighton Shelter Hall was part of the council’s high-profile £19m plan to restore and regenerate the Brighton seafront. The space has been extended to allow for more social and commercial opportunities along the popular coastal walkway. The shelter now houses a flagship restaurant and retail facility in its sea front offerings.
A new sea wall protects the restored building and wooden kiosk, which has been on the seafront since the 1880s. After the building was found to have serious structural weaknesses in 2013, Brighton and Hove City Council commenced crucial conversations on restoration and the opportunity for wider phases of regeneration for the famous seafront.
Taylor Maxwell supplied unique, gauged red brickwork to the grand build, alongside sister company Vobster Architectural who restored the cast stone details, such as the bastion, band course around the shelter and intricate Neptune heads, which form an iconic feature across the archways on West Street Shelter Hall’s balconies and further represent the seaside location.
The regeneration seeks to provide more places to eat and shop along the popular seafront. As a site of British seaside history, planning and consultation had to be undertaken with Historic England and the Brighton and Hove City Council Conservation Officer. Once listed building consent was obtained for the removal of the kiosk, it was relocated to East Street Bastion, where it is now protected by the extended sea wall and walkway. Consultation was further required for the brickwork, where each brick had to be gauged and then cut down to the correct size to meet historic requirements and give the build the architectural authority that would have been present in its Victorian origins. Each brick was purpose made and oversized instead of cut and bond to get the unusual size of the brick correct and respect the heritage of the site.
Both our team and the team at Vobster Architectural worked with Brighton and Hove City Council and Edburton Contractors Ltd to supply wet cast Portland stone, which brightens and provides contrast to the traditional double-English bond red brickwork. The cast stone elements provide visual accents to the shelter’s sea front through string courses, stairway copings, anti-skate sea wall copings, window heads and decorative keystones.
The process of restoring cast stone components and gauged brickwork is very technically detailed, which contributed to a long construction time. Additionally, due to the scale and popular location of the project, a solution which allowed for an efficient construction was required. Cast stone components are produced offsite using moulds, meaning they can be ready made to high quality-controlled standards and then delivered to site according to schedule.
The new sea wall that protects the shelter was reinforced with metal, further requiring holes to safely secure the cast stone copings to the blocks below with concrete. The copings feature an anti-skate ridge with hole covers designed to add visual interest in addition to their utilitarian purpose. Restored to its former glory, Brighton Shelter Hall is now a thriving hub for food, retail and live music on the sea front.