Structural Engineers: Price & Myers
Building Contractor: Kier Construction
Client: Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
Southend Pier Cultural Centre by White arkitekter and Sprunt is now complete. The new Cultural Centre is sited at the head of Southend Pier, the world’s longest pleasure pier.
The sweeping geometric form and harmonising palette of materials of the building celebrates the topography of the windswept site integrating it into the scenic landscape. The dynamic roof shape, which measures up to 9 metres from floor level, houses a large multi-purpose events space with floor to ceiling glazed elevations. Orientated South facing, the entrance façade is set back beneath the roof forming a sheltered entrance and café terrace from which to enjoy views out onto the water.
The centre has sloping walls and a twisting hyperbolic paraboloid roof form designed in partnership with structural engineers Price & Myers. Due to the challenging conditions of the site, contractors Kier fabricated the building off site at Tilbury Docks and craned it into place in one piece. Durable materials have been specified throughout to help achieve a long lifespan.
During the day the cultural centre’s GRP cladding has a translucent quality which changes tone, appearing white in bright sunlight and greenish grey when the sky is overcast. At night luminaires delineate the building’s sculptural profile.
Southend Pier is a landmark structure closely associated with the town and particularly to the typology of Southend’s shoreline. The Cultural Centre brings new life to the promenade and reclaims the pier as the town’s main attraction for both the town’s residents and tourists.