Practice wins £25m Bournemouth seafront redevelopment

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid Architects has won its biggest UK project since the Olympic Aquatics Centre.

The practice beat off competition from 38 other practices and a shortlist featuring Feilden Clegg Bradley, Wilkinson Eyre, Jestico & Whiles and Levitt Bernstein to land the £25 million redevelopment of a key site on Bournemouth’s seafront.

The so-called cultural quarter will be built on what is currently a surface car park next to the Pavilion Theatre and a five-star hotel which has dramatic views over the beach and the Purbeck Hills.

Proposals for what the site could contain include a 300-seat theatre, a 600sq m gallery, space for six restaurants and a 90-bed hotel.

Significant public realm investment is envisaged, linking the cultural quarter to the beaches, town centre and forthcoming Winter Gardens scheme via a new Grand Garden Walk.  

Council leader John Beesley said: “We are in the early stages of planning and any development will need to be of high architectural quality, respecting the views, enhancing the neighbouring Pavilion and creating a strong and positive visual identity for this part of Bournemouth.”

Bournemouth has a chequered history of seafront development but one of its most-loved assets are the gardens running through the centre to the pier.

The competition run by the Bournemouth Development Company sought to find an architect that could demonstrate the importance of placemaking.

ZHA director Jim Heverin, who led the Aquatics Centre project, said: “We greatly look forward to working with the community and all stakeholders to develop a shared vision for this very important site.

“On her recent visit to Bournemouth in March this year, Zaha explored the wonderful possibilities for Pavilion Gardens as a popular cultural quarter for residents and visitors alike, linking the town centre with its renowned seafront and beaches.”

Shortly before her death, Hadid opened Peter Cook’s drawing studio at Bournemouth’s Arts University (pictured).

As delivery partner for the “town centre vision”, Bournemouth Development Company is working to redevelop council-owned land assets in the town. 

In a statement explaining the process, the company said: “Under the partnership, the council invests land assets including car parks when development is imminent. The assets investment is matched in cash value by Morgan Sindall Investments. Both partners maintain a 50% share in the assets, the partnership and the profits arising, with the share of profits reinvested in new sites, infrastructure and open spaces. The Bournemouth Development Company is developing sites through a holistic approach over the next 20 years, the projected life of the partnership.”