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Oyster Creek Kitchen - The Re-use of The Leas Sun Shelter

The developed design was to meet the aspirations of the Council through their Development Brief to sympathetically renovate the existing shelter to create a commercially responsive internal space and external space within the context of the locally listed building within the Leas Conservation Area.

A key element of the brief and resulting design approach was to ensure that the symmetry and simplicity of any intervention was contextually respectful and responsive to the architecture of the existing structure, surrounding conservation area and the heritage of the seaside which was to be referenced through the design solution.

Overall, the solution to the Development Brief was to deliver a sensitive and carefully considered proposal to preserve and enhance the existing structure and the importance of the character of the Leas Conservation Area. The proposal provided a commercially viable and sustainable tourist offer to Southend’s seafront.

The design intention was to firstly restore the existing structure and provided appropriate protection from the weather and elements. With the structure watertight the introduction of subtle animation in the form of new internal and external fabric visually enhanced the setting and architecture of the shelter. The existing Crittal steel windows were overhauled repaired and glazed in single pane glazing set in putties to replicate the original Crittal detailing.

The introduction of internal fabric included new finished floors, complete servicing, the introduction of new furniture, toilets and a commercial kitchen with servery and bar area.

Externally the main intervention took the form of the west entrance. In order to provide an accessible space a ramp was introduced that sympathetically follows the curve of the shelter. The ramp terminates reaching a glass entrance porch which was designed to provide the lightest possible solutions whilst allowing an appropriate lobby and entrance language for the new commercial venture. External seating was also placed within the south facing landscape with parasols, reinforced by soft landscaping and the erection of a simple metal balustrade above the low level boundary wall. The use of the external space particularly in summer months will create a blend between internal and external use.

Bin storage and servicing was incorporated within the landscape immediately west and adjacent to the Shelter. This area was sunken into the cliff embankment and screened into a landscaped wall.