Split Pediment

The musings of a Brighton-based architecture dweeb and town planner in training.

Tag: Art Deco

Sinister Saltdean

So I took a stroll today*, it being a nice day and everything, from where I live in nice, normal, safe Kemptown. I went East. I tell you, it’s strange out East. West is usually fine. Go West, in the high manner of the Pet Shop Boys, and you will inevitably hit Brighton – a perfectly proper seaside resort with wholesome entertainments and fine, upstanding citizens. But no; I went East.

Until I came to Saltdean. You’ll know Saltdean for two things. Bungalows and the Lido. And you’re not wrong:

There they are. The bungalows, and the Lido. One of them (I’m not telling which) has the words “Saltdean Lido” on it in big letters, so that you know that that’s definitely one of those two things. (Oh, alright, it’s this one:)

You say Lido and I say Lido… But hang on, what’s that totalitarian monstrosity – as The Automatic profoundly enquire – coming over the hill? And well may you ask. More of that to come.

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For your amusement

That’s amusement pronounced “ammeeuuuusment”. Or “amusement”, to be precise.

This site‘s quite funny, even if you’re not familiar with the insufferably perfect pseudoretrominimoquirkiness of Dwell.

Here’s a couple of pics I’ve had in the file for ages, which I intended to use for something on the development of the purpose-built flatblock in Brighton and Hove. I’ll get around to that one day, but for now here’s some balconies:

Guess the year? Yes! It’s 1937. Isn’t it always? Note how the Deco stylings (the curve on the balconies, the disproportionate vertical and horizontal railings) are understated – this isn’t some glitzy Odeon cinema or sleek newspaper offices. This is a genteel block of flats for nice Hove residents; yes, Gerald makes the odd cocktail but generally it’s a gin fizz. And Shirley wouldn’t be seen dead in a conical brassiere.Or brasserie, for that matter.

The architect was one Joseph Hill, presumably the same whose firm later became LAP.

That attic storey with the dormers would have been for servants (according to my handy Pevsner). Ah, the Thirties. When the humble folk had the best view.

Rockefeller

The Rockefeller Center is admired by many, your Mr McNicol included,¬†as a fine complex of art deco buildings. Unremarkable from afar, they come into their own when one is close enough to see the detailing, the sculpture and planning, and be overwhelmed by the scale of the place. Lots of pics after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Brighton Deco

At the West end of Brighton, just before it rudely interferes with Hove, you’ll notice a couple of Art Deco-ish gems standing proud along the promenade.

Embassy Court for so long was a run-down, rusting, dilapidated hulk of a building that, when I was living just up the road from it, it proved a useful marker when giving directions (“turn left/right at the big ugly block of flats”). However, I always felt a pang of guilt when describing it as such, and were anyone else to do so I would instantly leap at its defense. No! I’d cry – it may look like a dodgy concrete tower block but it’s a fine Deco lady, once home to Rex Harrison none the less.

Now, though, since its revamp it’s once again been restored to its former stature and is (as in this photo) a fine complement to the beautiful peace statue beneath.

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