The project is for The Creative Foundation and Kent County Council and draws its inspiration from the maritime traditions of Britain's coastal towns, as well as Botticelli's Birth of Venus. The building is clad in convex metal mesh panels, reminiscent of the ribbed form of a scallop shell.
The £4 million commission forms a central part of the community arts-led regeneration, and includes a 250-seat, 500-standing multi-purpose auditorium for music, dance, theatre and conferences.
The scheme has a two-level café/bar, and the top floor offers a business enterprise centre. The intention of this, ABA says, is to create an open and accessible building that is a vibrant hub for the local community.
The project hopes to go on site in early 2007, with completion set for 2008.