Allies and Morrison for Roffey Homes
Mixed-tenure housing development comprising a 170ft seafront tower alongside a six-storey garden square and a beachside café. The tower is a fully-glazed orthogonal block, set behind generous rippling balconies with slim white metal railings.
This is an impressive exercise in using local references to create an original and powerful landmark – a worthy replacement for the depressing 1960s swimming pool that previously occupied the site and which, ironically, turned its back on the sea. It sits literally beachside and forms an exclamation mark that counterbalances the horizontal mass of the pier. At the same time, it bookends the seafront terraces of Regency Worthing, harmonising well with their white stucco while steering clear of weak historicism. Its location at the point of transition between the Regency town and later development gives it a particular job to do: this is often the point at which close-grained townscape reaches a sputtering end, petering out into dispiriting ribbon development. This building mitigates that by holding out the promise of a place worth visiting. Viewed from the distant pier, it announces itself as a destination – not aggressively, but as a complement to the historic town. At close quarters, the sinuous balconies offer visual variety and even a maritime echo, but in a disciplined way. Sometimes seaside buildings can be over-literal in their references, with clodhopping detailing in the shape of waves and prows. Here it is done evocatively but subtly. Viewed obliquely, the sea-facing elevation is wonderfully playful, but seen full-frontal from the beach it is rigorous and devoid of frippery.