17.2.16…..On the 4th of February, Valerie met with Rob Starr and his PR, Bill Murray. Most of the meeting was extremely worthwhile and interesting but it was not about showing the plans. Just a few minutes at the end allowed for interrrogation and a view of the two spiral bound documents containing the King Alfred plans that Brighton & Hove chose over other bidders to redevelop the King Alfred. This is what was agreed:
There will be an invitation-only limited meeting of saveHOVE associates and supporters with Starr and his architect attending. Open public meetings, Starr advises, would have to be Council-led and held during the official consultation period. The evening meeting will be about offering ideas and suggestions, to get feedback/changes to them in person. It is likely to be a Tuesday evening meeting.
In order for the meeting to be what it needs to be, people need to know enough that they can have a think beforehand in order to be able to bring those constructive ideas forward. Regrettably, none of the images from the two documents can be put online by saveHOVE at this time. But some information from notes can be shared.
Redevelopment Plan Details
The Starr Trust would take two storeys in one tower for a permament Trust office with rooms to hire out, rooms that could be used for free, and a 350 seat area that could be used to stage small productions, conferences…whatever.
The Starr Trust
50/50 partners with Crest Nicholson and it was Starr who brought the specialist housebuilders into the bid.
The whole King Alfred/RNR site is divided into Block B (existing KA side) and Block A (the carpark RNR site). Two towers on each site, the two-storey leisure centre is placed on the RNR site running from the Kingsway to the Esplanade. A wide public walkway is designed between the two areas.
The five Towers
Block A1 – 18 storeys (58.9m) with 113 flats Block A2 – 15 storeys (49.9m) with 82 flats Block B1 – 10 storeys (33.1m AGL) with 82 flats Block B2 – 10 storeys (33.1m) with 126 flats Block B3 – 9 storeys (30.1m) 131 flats and Rob Starr advises “bear in mind that these are the current numbers pre-consultation”.
The Starr Trust intend to take first/second floors in the block alongside the public realm strip. Within their permanent area there would be 8 meeting rooms (8 months bookable, otherwise free), one of which seats 350. One more room is on the third floor. That is the plan.
The Leisure Centre
Mike Lawless of LA Architects is doing the leisure centre and what goes into it is totally unchangeable and forms the basis of who the Council chose for the redevelopment. What it looks like is the free bit. The architect is a current King Alfred user so has a clear idea of how it is used. The Council has also decreed that the existing King Alfred must be demolished before the new one is built, even though on two separate areas! The reason for this is that it takes three years off the construction time for the project. It also allows for siting of a sub-station, power, utilities and gubbins on the KA site in order to facilitate the build on the RNR area. The public would have to want and be able to persuade BHCC that they are happy to add three years to the construction period to get that changed. Plus. Last time Karis were going to put its site office on the Western Lawn. Worth remembering and pondering on.
The intention is to build west to east, to aim for BREAM Gold and to incorporate grey-water flushing for toilets.
The cafe specified by BHCC as needed for the leisure centre is sited on the esplanade side, in the corner by the public realm strip between the two developed areas. It is the only one and apparently only open while the leisure centre is open. And the public toilets would be useable by passing walkers, only if it was open.
One change from the Karis application of 10 years ago, is access and egress, which, last time involved use of the Esplanade and residents got into a bit of to and fro with GOSE over a ‘stopping up’ order which came after planning consent (if memory serves right). The Starr/Crest Nicolson scheme proposes entry and exit from two points, in and out of the Kingsway to access underground parking.
Brick and brick spandrels in two differing tones, as between west area towers (pale) and east blocks area (buff) is the main building material with white precast concrete for some areas. The vertical ‘fins’ visible on the leisure centre are precast concrete, as are Kingsway/Esplanade building plinths.
Windows and panels are set wthin the primary frame of brick “consisting of dark, anodised metal, glazed brickwork, or ceramic cladding, referencing the colour and texture of the mathematical tiles that have a historic association with the city and providing contrast with the light brickwork, adding texture and colour to the facade.“
Balconies are either “glass, curved precast concrete or GRC”
Primary framing of blocks A are brick whilst primary framing of blocks B is concrete. Both are a mix of brick (two tones) and concrete.
“The materials language aims to reinforcethe best qualities of the Brighton and Hove seafront – elegant, relaxed and timeless…..selected for durability..”
Anodised aluminium is used for “the solar louvres in front of a translucent insulating glass” on the Explanade side of the leisure centre. There is also glazed tiling (inspired by historic mathematical tiles) nnd etched glass proposed for the leisure centre.
Whether looking at the materials palette makes any difference to how the architecture is basically perceived by people (negatively) remains to be seen. More details will emerge as more people are consulted and briefed.
Rob Starr was interviewed by Mike Mendoza over 20 minutes on The Vote. Do have a look. You learn about the developers, but not about the development details, particularly. Have a look.