‘Iconic’ and ‘tall’ are not the same

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Brighton has the Regency Pavilion, Bexhill has the De La Warr, Bilbao has its Guggenheim, Berlin its Jewish Museum and Brandenburg Gate and east London its Zaha Hadid swimming pool.

Stonehenge is a landmark building. All of them are iconic, distinctive, high-quality architecture, but none of them is tall and all of them are open to the public.

So I would suggest ‘iconic and landmark’ do not necessarily mean tall.

Worthing has its distinctive 1930s pier and pavilion and the recently completed Splashpoint baths, described by the council as iconic, both open to the public.

There is no need for a tall building, just a well-designed, contemporary, sustainable development that works with Worthing’s built context and contributes aesthetically and functionally to the leisure and recreational activities of the seafront. As a private housing development, it would never be capable of stimulating

the often-referred-to large-scale economic regeneration for Worthing.

It is not like Margate’s landmark seafront gallery, which is a publicly accessible cultural building, attracting large numbers of people to the town who also spend money on other recreational activities, nor is it even an East Beach Café, which although very small, is an iconic building open to the public that draws additional visitors to Littlehampton.

The proposed Roffey tower is designed to be highly

visible and seen from the South Downs and from

along the coast.

The 21 storeys are equivalent in height and visible presence to a

cathedral spire.

But it does not have the compositional elegance or distinctiveness, the detailed sculptural richness or the cultural aspirational symbolism of a cathedral tower. Despite what Roffey says about the tower being ‘iconic’, it is really a very tall ordinary white rendered housing block with a totally private frontage abutting the promenade.

It is a poor substitute for an iconic building – an iconic building that does not have to be tall.

It does not contribute in any way to Worthing’s leisure and recreational seafront or existing context.

A.J. Barber

Warwick Road

Worthing

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