Thursday, 26 November 2009

The Van Alen Building

The Van Alen building in Marine Parade, completed in 2001, occupies the site of a former garage & petrol station. Generally agreed to be one of the more successful of the City's modern buildings it harmonises with the seafront architecture without resorting to pastiche,  and pleases the eye from every angle: its roofline from the beach; its building line from Marine Parade.

Because of its location in a historic seafront, the design, by architect PRC Fewster, was the subject of  considerable discussion with both the Council and English Heritage. Plans for the building were also considered by the Royal Fine Arts Commission.  Early plans showed the balcony fronts as solid. The Council's Conservation Advisory Group (staffed by representatives of local amenity societies) felt this gave a much too ponderous effect and, as a result of their comments, the glass-fronted design seen today was adopted.  The building is named after William van Alen, the architect of New York's Chrysler Building.

What a shame the same amount of thought & care did not go into the design of the Bedford Hotel replacement. But that was 40 years ago when brutalism ruled.


  1. I agree, it's handsome building. I'm not sure they were right to replace the solid balcony with glass. I think it would have been quite effective.

  2. That petrol station was very convenient.


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