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Zaha Hadid Architects lands £25m Bournemouth cultural quarter

Zaha Hadid portrait by Mary McCartney
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Zaha Hadid Architects has won the high-profile competition to design a £25 million cultural quarter in Bournemouth overlooking Poole Bay

The double Stirling Prize-winning studio defeated Wilkinson Eyre, Levitt Bernstein, Jestico + Whiles and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios to land the landmark seafront project.

The scheme will be the firm’s largest in the UK since the 2012 Olympics Aquatics Centre, and comes nearly two months after the death of the practice’s founder Zaha Hadid.

The RIBA gold medallist visited Bournemouth shortly before her death to open a new 140m² drawing studio by Achigram founder Peter Cook.

ZHA director Jim Heverin commented: ‘On her recent visit to Bournemouth in March this year, Zaha explored the wonderful possibilities for Pavilion Gardens as a popular cultural quarter for residents and visitors alike, linking the town centre with its renowned seafront and beaches.’

Zaha Hadid and Peter Cook

Zaha Hadid and Peter Cook

Bournemouth Borough Council leader John Beesley said: ‘The council’s approach to the development at the Bath Road North site will be thorough and considered.

‘We are in the early stages of planning, and any development will need to be of high architectural quality, respecting the views, enhancing the neighbouring Pavilion and creating a strong and positive visual identity for this part of Bournemouth.’

The project will replace the resort town’s Bath Road North and Bath Road South car parks with a mix of cultural uses, potentially including a theatre, gallery, museum and hotel.

Public spaces, restaurants and a new car park could also be delivered on the site, which is next to Bournemouth’s Grade II-listed Pavilion Theatre and Lower Pleasure Gardens.

Images of ZHA’s winning scheme have yet to be revealed, but the project is expected to include significant public-realm improvements, including a new ‘Grand Garden Walk’ connecting the site to nearby winter gardens.

The competition was run by the Bournemouth Development Company (BDC), a joint venture between Bournemouth Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments.

Bournemouth Contest site photo

Bournemouth Contest site photo

BDC projects completed so far include a 378-room student accommodation block on Madeira Road for Arts University Bournemouth by Hampshire-based Bright Space Architects.

Other projects for which ZHA is currently in contention include Forest Green Rovers’ eco-stadium in Gloucestershire and a hi-tech advertising billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. The studio’s cantilevered faculty for the American University of Beirut is among 19 finalists competing for the prestigious Aga Khan Award.




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Readers' comments (1)

  • Chris Rogers

    "The council’s approach to the development at the Bath Road North site will be thorough and considered" What, like it was when the IMAX cinema that destroyed seafront views and was branded the most-hated building in Britain was approved? That was designed to look like waves - I bet this one will be too.

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