Southend Pier Cultural Centre is now open to the public ahead of an official inauguration this autumn. Designed by White Arkitekter and Sprunt, the new Cultural Centre is sited at the head of Southend Pier, the world's longest pleasure pier.
The sweeping geometric form and harmonising palette of materials of the building celebrates the topography of the windswept site integrating it into the scenic landscape. The dynamic roof shape, which measures up to 9 metres from floor level, houses a large multi-purpose events space with floor to ceiling glazed elevations. Orientated South facing, the entrance façade is set back beneath the roof forming a sheltered entrance and cafe terrace from which to enjoy views out onto the water.
The centre has sloping walls and a twisting hyperbolic paraboloid roof form designed in partnership with structural engineers Price & Myers. Due to the challenging conditions of the site, contractors Kier fabricated the building off site at Tilbury Docks and craned it into place in one piece. Durable materials have been specified throughout to help achieve a long lifespan.
During the day the cultural centre's GRP cladding has a translucent quality which changes tone, appearing white in bright sunlight and greenish grey when the sky is overcast. At night luminaires delineate the building's sculptural profile.
Photos: Luke Hayes