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ADP wins £6.3m Southend Pier pavilion contest

ADP's competition-winnning Southend Pier Pavilion
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ADP has won the competition to design a landmark £6.3 million pavilion on Southend Pier

The AJ100 practice defeated an undisclosed shortlist of rival teams to win the £250,000 design contract tendered by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

The studio will deliver a flexible cultural and leisure facility at the landside northern end of the Essex town’s Grade II-listed structure, which at 2.16km is the longest recreational pier in the world. The winning proposal includes a unified lighting design and illuminations scheme.

The project, which is planned to complete in 2020, comes five years after White Arkitekter completed a competition-winning 350m² cultural centre at the far end of the pier, around 1.9km from the latest contest site.

The council’s executive councillor for culture, tourism and the economy, Ann Holland said: ‘The pier is undoubtedly the jewel in Southend’s crown and is a symbol of immense pride among the town’s 180,000 residents and 6 million annual visitors.

Despite the pier being hit by a litany of disasters over its 187-year history – including four fires and a ship crashing into it – the council has remained committed to maintaining and restoring the pier, Holland said. ‘Follow our condition-survey of the pier last year, which confirmed the structure was safe to build upon, I’m delighted that we are now able to appoint ADP to bring forward designs for this new pavilion, which will generate new jobs, boost the local visitor economy and bring fun back to the pier.’

ADP London Studio Director Liz Jarrett said: ‘ADP is delighted to be taking forward the design of a third-generation pavilion on the world famous Southend Pier.

‘The two previous pavilions were both lost to fires, and this project is a further step forward in Southend’s regeneration strategy, as part of the Thames Gateway. This delivery of this project will build upon our successful relationship with Southend Borough Council following the successful delivery of the award-winning Forum civic centre.’

Southend Pier was originally built from timber in 1829 when the town was rapidly growing as a popular seaside resort. It was rebuilt in iron in 1889, and features a narrow-gauge single-track railway along its entire length.

During the latter half of the 20th century it was struck by a series of fires which wrecked its original landside pavilion and a bowling alley replacement.

Recent additions have included an RNLI lifeboat station and a landside pier head. Sweden’s White Arkitekter and UK-based Sprunt Architects won an international contest for a new cultural centre at the southernmost part of the pier in 2009. The building, which hosts art exhibitions and performances for up to 185 people, opened in 2012.

The new pavilion will be constructed on a large open space known as the ‘bowling deck’, located a short distance from Western Esplanade and the popular Adventure Island theme park. A high-level walkway connects the site to the seafront promenade, a pedestrianised high street and Southend Central Train Station.

The new low-energy and sustainable structure is expected to generate revenue for the council, create local employment, and reflect the pier’s history as an important centre for pleasure and entertainment. The scheme is also expected to be fully accessible and to feature robust materials suitable for a marine setting.

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