Another brutalist treat from my trip south this week. After the unrelenting strangeness of Richard Seifert’s hotel on the Brighton seafront, just a mile away I found Hove’s town hall, after seeing a timely tweet about it (thanks Gemma, Iain and TBH).
The 20th Century Society describe it like this: ‘It is a bold-looking building, with a massive overhanging roof canopy and ribbed natural aggregate panels, somewhat lightened by stepped glass curtain walling. The varied proportions of the glazing panels and their thin transoms and mullions appear to reduce the bulk of the building’ and ‘the bold design, with a massive overhanging roof canopy and ribbed natural aggregate panels, is modulated by the vertical framed glass panels that make up the majority of the facade. Sited well back from the pavement line to create a piazza, this startling and unusual building is tucked away on a leafy residential street in the centre of the town’.
Plans are afoot to replace that giant canopy and the glass of the front elevation and to clad the current, period interior, but not if the Society can prevent it. While we can be consoled that it isn’t being demolished like so many of its contemporaries, it seems a short sighted thing to do to tinker with a design that is so much ‘of its time’. The building is unique and something that the authority and locals should be proud of, especially when compared to many civic buildings. Mr Meads gave an hour’s worth of reasons why such building should be treasured, which, providing you’re not from the BBC or otherwise interested in copyright infringement, you can still see here.