UNFINISHED BUSINESS AT DE LA WARR PAVILION
So Bexhill-on-Sea's De La Warr Pavilion reopens to the public ( ajplus 11.10.05). But eight million quid for the renovation?
You're 'avin' a laugh! I visited the pavilion on Sunday 16 October, the day after the official opening. It's always been one of my favourite buildings since I stayed in Bexhill for three days as a student of architecture in 1957. The purpose of that visit was to measure the main entrance and spiral staircase as part of a drawing exercise - later to be set out on a nice piece of hot-pressed Whatman with green and sepia ink dispensed from a Graphos pen.
On leaving the building with my fellow student, Chui Ng, the manager handed me a roll of drawings. These were dyelines of the original services drawings for the whole pavilion! They could have saved us hours? Anyway, I digress. I was writing to express my surprise and horror at the state of the 'finished' building. I'm sure most of us have experienced the struggle to get a contract ready for handover but at Bexhill we saw evidence of slapdash, slovenly efforts to complete the work. The first thing one saw on approaching from the patchy car park was the unpainted backs of the staircase heating pipes through the glass. Suddenly snagging mode kicked in, setting the tone for the whole tour. I'm sure many of your readers could add to the huge list of unfinished and badly executed items.
I'd love to hear the reasons for this debacle. Even the new toilets packed up during our visit.
Nevertheless, I thought that overall the building looked magnificent in the sparkling October sun and I dearly hope that the work can be properly finished by a company skilled in restoration work.
Phil Blower, Southend-on-Sea