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De La Warr Pavilion
Bexhill, East Sussex
De La Warr Pavilion
associated engineer
Felix Samuely
date  opened 6th May 1935
era  Modern  |  category  Building  |  reference  TQ739072
photo  Joan Street : tvlocationsuk@yahoo.co.uk
Herbrand Sackville — a socialist Peer and 9th Earl De La Warr — became Bexhill’s first socialist Mayor in 1932. He set up a competition for the design of a seafront pavilion and out of over two hundred submissions, he chose the work of architects Eric Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff. To complete the team, Felix Samuely was appointed engineer.
Eric Mendelsohn had left Germany to work in the UK when Hitler came to power in 1933. Serge Chermayeff, who had already established his design reputation, was born in Russia. Samuely was born in Vienna. This wider European expertise helped the new building became what we now consider a masterpiece of Modernism.
The De La Warr Pavilion provided a restaurant, auditorium, library, reading room, and what was to become its defining feature, roof terracing for sunbathing. The upper levels are accessed by a sweeping circular staircase, the tower for which is a projected cylindrical glass enclosure.
All the building's surfaces were designed for maximum light transmission and reflection — full-height slender steel-framed glazing is set into white rendered walls, and polished, reflective terrazzo floors.
Samuely designed a site-welded steel frame for the building — a structural idea that had been developed in Germany and was new in Britain at the time. Other structural features include lattice steel beams fabricated with straight bottom booms but with angled top booms. This allowed a traditional-looking pitched roof to be used over the auditorium.
Architects: Erich Mendelsohn, Serge Chermayeff
Research: ND
bibliography
"A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method"
by Banister Fletcher, 17th edition revised by R. A. Cordingley
Athlone Press, 1963
Location

De La Warr Pavilion