Deal Pier Cafe


Deal Pier is a bare bones structure built in the 1950s. It has a pared down, matter-of–fact quality where nothing is superfluous. It could be compared to ribcage of a ship. The anglers, walkers and day-trippers come and go, bringing a dash of life and colour to the scene but you always sense that the structure will be swept clean and returned to the sea and the weather. This gives it a timeless quality. Its romance is closely linked to its ordinariness.

The practice discussed the ideal setting for a picnic at the end of the pier. We agreed we would prefer to sit on an empty deck with no building and enjoy the light and the panorama of the sky and sea. It was apparent that the best café should try and preserve this al-fresco quality. It should do so in a bare-bones sort of way.

The café building is exposed to the full force of the maritime environment and the choice of materials is important. The weathered surfaces of the existing structure are allowed to find their own natural patina. Similarly, the cafe’s simple use of hardwood should weather well and improve with exposure to water, salt and sun. The hardwood will eventually turn silver-grey to match the concrete of the pier.

To minimise cost, the building is a simple hall with repeating bays of timber ribs. The glazed café is located at the south end of the building and maximises views. Cool air is drawn through the underside of the deck and out through roof vents. 

Read More