WAF 2011 Selected – Southend Pier, A vibrant meeting-place filled with activities

Project facts and credits:

Location:Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK
Size: Cltural Centre: 364 sq m, Terrace: 121 sq m
Client: Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
Architect:White arkitekter
Project Architect:Niels de Bruin and Fredrik Pettersson
Executive Architect: Sprunt
Structural Engineers: Price& Myers
M&E:Atelier ten
Fire Consultants:International Fire
Planning Advisers:Turley Associates
Environment Assessors: Aecom

The long pier at Southend-on-Sea in England is a historic landmark that is to be transformed into a modern meeting-place with an environmental profile.


The international architectural competition,WAF 2011, attracted 74 practices and the winning proposal shows the ability to combine razor-sharp design with environmental, social and economic sustainability. An iconic pier with its own distinctive character, history and people. One of the main attractions of the Pier is the view of the sea, and in particular, the feeling of being on the sea.


”A key element of our proposal is to make sure that the people of Southend use the Pier and take it into their heart. The Pier Head should be a vibrant place filled with activities”, says Fredrik Pettersson, architect in charge together with Niels de Bruin, landscape architect. We envision a walkable and bikeable street with attractive destinations located every 500 metres.


The Pier should be an extension of the High Street’s urban fabric onto the sea. Imagined The Pier Head designed as a public space functioning like a modern agora, part theatre, part art space, acting as a vibrant meeting place for both the people of Southend-on-Sea and visitors.


”The dramatic curving shapes of the buildings are derived from the wind and the waves themselves. This public, yet enclosed, space will be perfectly integrated into the scenery. It will be sculpted by wind and wave”, says landscape architect Niels de Bruin.


”Southend Pier is a unique structure with an interesting history. The new additions will continue the evolution
of the structure, enhancing the quality of space at the end of the pier, while respecting the historic fabric”,
says Tim Lucas, Price& Myers.

Illustrations: White

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