Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, by Hat Projects

Despite a long and controversial journey to completion, Hat Projects’ understated Jerwood Gallery is finally settling in with its Hastings seafront neighbours
In 2008 the Jerwood Gallery was burned to the ground.
As flames licked around its doric columns and clouds of smoke billowed above its pediment, crowds of local onlookers cheered and munched their toffee-apples with glee. It was just another bonfire night in Hastings, a town that has a long history of burning things it doesn’t agree with.
The effigy of the gallery joined the illustrious company of the Pope and Gaddafi, who had both graced the pyre in previous years, as well as a papier-mache hamburger in response to foot and mouth, and a gigantic model of a wheelie bin — set ablaze in opposition to a new council waste management system.
“The people of Hastings have a fantastic track record of stopping projects they don’t like,” says Hana Loftus of Hat Projects, the architect of the controversial new gallery that opened this month. “The community here really is incredible — they care so passionately about the place.”
So passionately, in fact, that a vociferous minority tried everything in their powers to entirely halt the development — an £8 million masterplan for a new public space, community hall, cafĂ© and public toilets, of which the £4 million, privately funded Jerwood Gallery was the driving force.
Read the full article here.
Originally published in BD, 28 March, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Long House, Norfolk, by Hopkins Architects

Close to the Norfolk coast, The Long House is the latest holiday home for Living Architecture
‘You’ve got to be out of your mind! Why would you want us?” This was Michael Hopkins’ reaction, as he recalls it, when Alain de Botton first phoned up to ask him and his wife, Patty, to design him a holiday house — the fourth in his Living Architecture portfolio.
“We thought, this is an amazing opportunity for a younger practice, so why on earth choose us?”
I have to admit my own initial response was not too dissimilar. For a programme professedly “set up to revolutionise architecture” it seemed an odd choice.
More than any others of their generation, the Hopkinses have steadily built a reputation as architects to the establishment, with impeccable credentials and a top-drawer client list. With Lord’s cricket stand, the Glyndebourne opera house and Portcullis House, as well as buildings for Sherborne and Bryanston schools, Yale, Princeton and Cambridge universities, they have designed settings for the ruling elite to learn, work, rest and play. They bring the hallmark of quality and sobriety, “the acceptable face of modernism”. Even Prince Charles is a tacit fan.
But they have not designed a house since 1976 — when they built their seminal glass and steel box in Hampstead for themselves.
Read the full article here.
Originally published in BD, 14 March 2012