Day 183/365 of Steel – Serge Chermayeff

Serge Chermayeff 8 October 1900 – 8 May 1996) was a Russian-born British architect, industrial designer, writer, and co-founder of several architectural societies, including the American Society of Planners and Architects. In 1940, Chermayeff emigrated to the United States where he joined Clarence W. W. Mayhew as associate architect, helping Mayhew design his own residence. In 1946, he was recommended by Walter Gropius to become the president of the Institute of Design in Chicago.

De La Warr Pavilion (Bexhill-on-Sea)

De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill-on-Sea
Fig 1: De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill-on-Sea
source: artreview

The Modernist and International Style building was designed by the architects Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff and constructed in 1935. Seventy years ago, Mendelsohn dubbed the sleek, streamlined form of the pavilion a “horizontal skyscraper.”

De La Warr Pavilion
Fig 2: De La Warr Pavilion
Photo: YCDI2020

Today, the building does not look dated at all — its form remains iconic, simple, and bold. Inside there is a feeling of glamour and spaciousness despite the building’s modest footprint.

De La Warr Pavilion Interior
Fig 3: De La Warr Pavilion Interior
source: visiteastbourne

The aesthetics employed in the International Style proved especially suited to the building, tending towards streamlined, industrially-influenced designs, often with expansive metal-framed windows, and eschewing traditional brick and stonework in favour of concrete and steel construction.

De La Warr Pavilion Interior
Fig 4: De La Warr Pavilion Interior
Photo: Brian Hession

Amongst the building’s most innovative features was its use of a welded steel frame construction, pioneered by structural engineer Felix Samuely.

De La Warr Pavilion During Construction
Fig 5: De La Warr Pavilion During Construction

In 2005, after an extensive restoration, the De La Warr Pavilion reopened as a contemporary arts centre, encompassing one of the largest galleries on the south coast of England.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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