Architecture-on-Sea : An Evening of Buildings, Stories and the Seaside


“Coastal architecture has distinct qualities. Its exposure to wind and rain and sea spray has shaped its form, as have the historic activities of seaside towns such as fishing, smuggling and seafaring. The advent of tourism has given it other qualities to do with escape, amusement and pleasure. Like people, architecture at the seaside often loosens up, kicks off its shoes and has a bit more fun.” (Charles Holland)

Over 100 people attended  Architecture-on-Sea: An Evening of Buildings, Stories and the Seaside in The Deal Pier Café building that was completed in 2008, commissioned by Dover District Council and designed by Niall McLaughlin. The building is included on the CHALKUP21 Art & Architecture trail celebrating nine significant 21st structures along the East Kent coast between Folkestone and Deal. This architecture-focused event celebrated the installation of the ninth and last of the CHALKUP21 trail plaques on the Deal Pier Café building at the end of the Pier.

The evening that started in full sunshine and ended with an amazing sun set was an example of the way CHALKUP21 seeks to co-produce events with the partners of the project. This event was a co-creation of Charles Holland architects, Dover District Council and Dover Arts Development, greatly enriched by the participation of The Deal book shop, ceramicist Frazer Doyle with his small fortunes CHALKUP21 souvenir and the new tenants of the Café, Rebecca and Tim of Deal Pier Kitchen Ltd, who provided all guests with a glass of prosecco.

Cllr Sue Chandler chairman of Dover District Council spoke about the ‘bravery’ of the council in commissioning the Deal Pier Cafe building and how the council are committed to keeping the standard of the architecture of new buildings high across the District. She praised Dover Arts Development for the role it plays in introducing unusual projects such as CHALKUP21 that enrich the districts cultural life and thanking Dover Arts Development for “the exciting extra dimension they bring to our towns and district

Architect Charles Holland and writer and broadcaster Travis Elborough held the audiance’s attention with their quick often very amusing exchanges in conversations about architecture and the seaside through the centuries. Travis is the author of Wish You Were Here, A history of the British seaside along with other books on social and popular culture. Charles has written the architecture texts for and also designed the CHALKUP21 trail plaques.

Some audience reactions:

it was a really GREAT evening!

What a successful event tonight–congratulations! 👏👏

A Wonderfully entertaining, interesting discussion about coastal towns and seaside architecture

Thank you Joanna Jones, thank you Clare Smith and Dover Arts Development for the wonderful CHALKUP21 project and for a brilliant evening at the end of the pier in Deal. Loved it 😊

Thanks for the evening, which I enjoyed. Was pleased to be present at an inaugural moment for the pier and all involved. Struggled a bit to be alert in the warmth with a head cold but the discussion raised lots of interesting aspects of piers and seaside towns, answered some questions in my head about the nature of piers.