by Robert Nemeth
I can’t help but chat with people about buildings. The subject comes up in conversation so easily, especially with strangers. Why talk about the weather when we are surrounded by such intriguing architecture?
Regular readers are probably now aware that I have just been elected onto Brighton & Hove City Council. It has been a long slog but well worth the years of effort. My greatest passion is of course the built environment and, as a Councillor, I would hope to have positive influence here.
My first foray into King’s House, the council’s headquarters on Hove seafront, was inevitably a chaotic experience. There is a lot to take in. There are tens of council officers whom I need to get to know, who are scattered around the vast office complex. My tour inevitably led to me asking to see some of the hidden areas. I can’t help but talk architecture.
King’s House is actually a collection of buildings, unbeknownst to most residents. It was originally designed as a terrace of seven houses. Corridors have been knocked through the thick party walls to make one integrated space (similar to the way in which four terraced houses became the old Sackville Hotel).
The south-west corner was most interesting to me. Its tower is certainly the most important feature. There are no other eight storeys structures in Hove in fact. The tower office is home to the council’s major projects team – who have the best jobs and views in the council, but the largest number of steps.
I will be looking to ensure that the right focus is put in getting major projects off the ground, starting with the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove. I hope to be able to talk about fine modern buildings, not just about our wonderful historic offerings.