Ushida Findlay's £3 million project for a new visitor centre and mixed-use development on the seafront at Hastings is the flagship project in the £400 million regeneration of the area.
The practice won the commission through open competition, beating off Tim Ronalds Architects, John McAslan & Partners, Austin-Smith: Lord, and Design Engine Architects and Designers. It is Ushida Findlay's first public commission in the UK.
The Stade Maritime Landmark sits between the historical winding closes of the Old Town and the beach area with its working fishing fleet and net huts. The centre forms a gateway to the Stade Maritime area, orientating visitors to Hastings and creating exhibition space, a tourist information office, small retail outlets, a coffee shop, up-market restaurant and new public plaza.
The design takes its inspiration from the amorphous forms of fishing nets, the curve of fishing boats and the timber weatherboarding of the net huts.
Although the design appears 'other worldly', its shape is informed by the flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic around and through it.
Ushida Findlay worked closely with partners Arup (engineer), Boyden & Company (quantity surveyor), Colin Buchanan & Partners (traffic consultant) and artist David Ware in the development of the design. The project is currently out to consultation and will be submitted for planning permission in the autumn.