Monday, 14 February 2011

Be my valentine, Arlington House




Before we get to the end of valentines day, we're squeezing in some love for one of Margate's most iconic buildings.

Arlington House isn't going to be knocked down. We think it is often misunderstood.

Happy Valentines, Arlington House. Some of us love you and we appreciate your finer points. Teak, brass and marble interiors anyone?

Designed by Russell Diplock Associates and built by Bernard Sunley, Arlington was a high spec building. No doubt some might question building such a thing on the seafront, as they do now regarding Tesco. But one thing is for sure, the specification of Arlington is not something the new Tesco seeks to emulate. You can't get rid of it, so why not enhance it? Do it justice, not try to erase it by covering it in guttering and plastic windows.

Happy valentines, Arlington House, from secret admirers.



Window sills that slope downwards that no water collects or birds can gain a footing. The new proposal will see the windows replaced with plastic, pushed out to the edge and guttering attached. Very little consideration has been spent on the refurbishment, it's first in its entire life.




Current planning permission application is available on UK planning. Search for application number: F/TH/10/1061

18 comments:

  1. Click here to see a photo I took about a hour ago...

    As well as the pro-Tesco signs, note all the birds on the window ledge.

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  2. Perhaps the sloping surface is still a long term deterrent. It looks like it is raining. You do put a lot of energy into being critical.

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  3. It wasn't too much energy to walk a couple of hundred yards & press a button, but the main reason for the photo is the pro-Tesco sign which I was delighted to see.

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  4. Yes i saw when they were filming Peter and told them there were 3 shops that had opened in the high street the M@S building is opening in march and why don't they go to the Old Town and see all the new shops and cafe's that were thriving?The chap said that wes'nt the remit and if they took photos of the Old Town they would'nt publish them!!!

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  5. There are so many shops now in the old town, hardly anything available for newcomers. But that's obviously not the story they want to tell about Margate. Shame isn't it.

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  6. "the M@S building is opening in march"? What as? Presumably not actually a Marks & Spencer...

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  7. No not M@S but a fashion chain called q i think,a bit like TK Max,good news heh..

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  8. Yes good news indeed (& brave too being so near Primark!).

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  9. And Arlington House loves you back MA x

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  10. I think if everybody had red curtains it would transform the building, no net curtains.

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  11. Needs tinted double glazed windows

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  12. Oh dear, I know we have to put up with this eyesore but embracing this long-discredited brutalist leftover is nauseating. It may be cosy with good views but not for those of us passing by who have any aesthetic sense at all. Those perverts who proclaim their "love" for this abomination no doubt find in the Turner toilet block a fragrant adornment to the harbour front. The silent majority find the architecture in both cases to be unsympathetic to the classical proportions of their surroundings (actually the silent majority in Margate are all doped out of their heads) Contrast the elegance of the Post Office (1910)and the railway station (1926) with the modernist vacancy of Arlington and Turner. The jarring break with classical tradition not only denies the past but shows contempt for it. Turner shows that designers are still foisting their brutalist tendencies on us, ably assisted by moronic town planners. The classical majesty of the Sea-Bathing Hospital would have been a wonderful gallery space, with shops and offices besides. Instead it languishes, unfinished and likely to remain so. It is a stark, daily reminder of the folly and cupidity of developers and town planners. What a singularly hideous prospect that promenade now presents. Beside the mini- golf a boarded-up toilet block welcomes the visitor to the "installation", entitled "Heritage Nightmare", of a spectral crane looming mournfully over a moraine of skeletal rubble. This is the best representation of the achievements of TDC. Ironically it may also be the finest piece of conceptual art in Margate, certainly more technically impressive than the Tracy-tat in the Turner.
    Despite my antipathy towards the Turner project I do believe it is the town's last best hope. If it succeeds it may bring a new breed in to supplant the deranged, sub-human underclass, on which TDC depends. Unfortunately the news from Dreamland is not encouraging, promising Sea-Bathing style wrangling and dereliction ad infinitum. Parcels of land shuffled around to prevent the CPO and £1million to put right Godden's railway "accident". Madness.Turner is not a panacea and the town cannot be saved from the slumlords and their "clients" without Dreamland. This Spring we all need to feel optimistic about Margate and there will be plenty of hype and delusion. However, cuts have only just begun and September -and foreclosure- is never far away. Oh dear this is depressing stuff isn't it? Well, now I've got it out of my system I think I'll soak up some of this glorious sunshine!

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  13. Arlington House certainly stirs up opinions. We all know that demolition is not on the cards. Does anyone think that covering over you will see it any less or make it more redeeming? The question is surely maintenance and cleaning as opposed to installing out of character plastic windows and guttering?

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  14. Steeplejack said...The classical majesty of the Sea-Bathing Hospital would have been a wonderful gallery space.


    The Sea-Bathing Hospital would make a fantastic gallery, Looks like a little british museum.


    Arlington house

    I think it should be kept in original condition and cleaned to. It was not long ago that people hated Victorian architecture and wanted to eradicated. We might regret taking out original features of Arlington in years to come.

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  15. Yesterday I discovered Margate and my first impression of the city was given to me by the Arlington house. That building nearly made me drop my camera despite my fascination, as a photographer, for ugly urban buildings. There I was, completely stunned, wondering what the hell was that … thing doing there. I thought the architect must have done it just like a dog drops his poo, very happy at the moment but then quickly goes away.

    Back home I started searching frenetically the internet to know who was the architect, how could it happen and what were the projects for it. And I came across this very interesting site. I couldn't agree more with Steeple jack comments to which I’d add that brutalist architecture should be knocked down without second thoughts. In my opinion it is of very little added value to the history of man’s creations and, more trivially, to the enjoyment that one can feel in living somewhere. Already out of place in big cities, like the Barbican in London, it is a complete abomination in less urbanized areas. Like many other people I see it as fascist rather than brutalist because it imposes the vision of an incompetent technocratic authority and denies an essential aspiration of ordinary humans : feeling welcomed by your environment and having your say in how it is shaped.

    But I can see with the £17,5 m Turner contemporary that the same story keeps going on …
    Margate, a cursed city ?

    All the best from a french anglophile.

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