Far more than the sum of its parts
Kaner Olette Architects for Christopher Bibb
Contract value: £340,000
Occasionally, a project emerges which is far more than the sum of its parts. The Gateway Interpretation Café is an exemplar retrofit due to its holistic sustainability and collaborative community-led approach. Although a relatively small project at £340k, it has attempted to raise the bar for design in a pocket of deprivation.
This modest building is a remodelling of a 1979 maintenance depot. During the development of the wider masterplan, the location was identified as strategically important for forming a link between the existing facilities to the new park areas and the South Downs National Park. The economy of the new skin of zinc and sweet chestnut belies thoughtful detailing, with the ability to open up the café with large sliding doors in good weather.
The café performs many roles. Five thousand people turned up on opening day of the building and the park. Lewes District Council should be applauded for driving this vision forward.