Brutalist Brighton – the Holiday Inn

Opened on 16 September 1967 on the site of the old Bedford Hotel, this was the first major new hotel development in Brighton for over half a century. Designed by one of the stars of British brutalism, Richard Seifert, the 17-storey block includes a 127-room hotel and the private flats of Bedford Towers. At 168 feet tall, it can’t be missed amongst the 19th century hotels along the sea-front.

Holiday Inn 3

Holiday Inn 2

Seifert gets his own chapter in John Grindrod’s book Concretopia, that begins:

Arguably the biggest impact on the British skyline in the whole postwar period was made by a controversial, art-loving, Swiss-born architect who hid behind his round-framed spectacles – a tirelessly mercurial figure who even changed his name and nationality along the way […] a curious figure, born Reubin Seifert, who fearlessly took our skyline and inserted into it some of our most notable, ambitious and controversial buildings.

Holiday Inn 1
This last picture is a 75 second exposure, shot from a promenade shelter through the torrential rain.

The building looks in decent condition and was receiving further maintenance with new windows being fitted into the already patched-up balconies. Because of its position on the prom (and between the town centre and the sea) it remains a bold statement of the mid-century optimism as Britain was re-building, and while it isn’t quite as striking as Seifert’s NLA Tower in Croydon, it’s easy to see the lineage.

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