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ZCD wins go-ahead for £300k seafront café

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[FIRST LOOK + PLANS + PROJECT DATA] ZCD has won planning to expand a seafront café in Worthing, West Sussex

The current café occupies what was once a chalet manager’s office and an adjacent two-storey ‘Belvedere’ within a stretch of beach-front chalets now occupied largely by artists.

The practice’s plans open up the Belvedere and incorporate it into the 180m2 café extension creating a ‘spacious and modern’ building.

The architect’s view

The Belvedere, café and chalets form the western side of a symmetrical esplanade along the seafront, made famous in the 1980s by the film ‘Wish you Were Here’. The buildings and columns are clad in uncut ‘cobbled’ flint, giving it a rather heavy, defensive feel and a roughness that seems appropriate next to the sea.  

Behind the esplanade is the formal Beach House Gardens, with the new Splashpoint by Wilkinson Eyre to the eastern side. Although the view from Beach House gardens is rather functional and unattractive, with angular façades of red brickwork, we were required to protect the views of the Belvedere and to work carefully with the existing building itself as being of local historic interest.

Our proposals incorporate the Belvedere, currently a pedestrian underpass, opening it up to create a double height space with natural light from high level windows, but preserving its form within the building. New café seating will exploit views of both the sea and the gardens, with fold back doors to the rear.

We chose to clad the kitchen and WCs with a modern version of cobbled flint, giving a heavy base for the lightweight roof to float over. The roof design preserves the view of the Belvedere by using an exposed folded structure supported on a forest of slender columns. This allows the roof to drop down in front of the Belvedere and to fly out at its outer edges, distinguishing it dramatically from the existing building in both form and material.

ZCD proposed plan

Proposed plan

Project data 

Location Worthing, West Sussex
Type of project café
Client Coast Café
Architect ZCD Architects
Structural engineer Blue Engineering
Quantity surveyor Andrew Lismore Associates
Funding private
Gross internal floor area 180m2
Total cost £300,000

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