Bandstand. De La Warr Pavilion


The De La Warr Pavilion stands on the seafront at Bexhill On Sea on England’s South Coast. It is one of Britain’s most famous twentieth century buildings and an early Modernist icon. Our practice won a competition to design a new bandstand canopy to host events on the large terrace on the seaward side of the pavilion.

A key aspiration for the project was that the community felt a sense of ownership of this new public space. The practice entered into a collaborative process with local people, co-designing with children from six schools. The design was then developed through a series of workshops with the pupils. The success of the collaboration was marked by the large number of parents of the school children and other locals who became involved.

The canopy of the bandstand is a fibreglass-coated, stressed ply skin structure, which sits on a stepped steel base. It was made by hand in a workshop using ship-building techniques. It can move about on the large terrace in front of the pavilion to accommodate different performances. The shape of the canopy is based on computer analysis of sound projection from the stage platform. We wanted to direct the sound without distortion.  The smooth white surface of the canopy references the crisp white geometry of the modernist pavilion behind.

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