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Embassy Court

 

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  • Embassy Court is the only part built of an ambitious masterplan drawn up by Brighton council in 1935 to commemorate that Royal Jubilee of that year that would have seen most of the sea front demolished and replaced with modernist and art-deco buildings.
  • The building was originally to be constructed using a diagonal beam grid system for the structure. This would have been the first such use in the United Kingdom, however Brighton Council were wary of what they considered experimental building techniques and refused to allow it. In the end a reinforced concrete frame was without the benefits of such as the ability to freely design the interior partitions of flats that the other technique would have afforded.
  • Cladding the building is white cement facing strips between each layer of glazing. Balconies and exterior walkways are cantilevered out by approximately 1 metre beyond the structure.
  • In the brief pre-war era Embassy Court operated it was one of the most prestigious apartment buildings in the United Kingdom with occupiers including Laurence Olivier, Rex Harrison, and Graham Greene who was shot to fame with his novel about the area, Brighton Rock.
  • One of the ideas of the architect to help turn the building into a social venue was to have smaller kitchens and a restaurant in the basement which operated during its heyday. Despite the small kitchens they were still fully fitted with integrated appliances, a rarity in the 1930s.
  • Serving the rich and famous who lived in the apartment block in the thirties was a series of service lifts and attached accommodation next door for up to 40 servants ranging from maids to butlers and cooks. Some of the flats, particularly the penthouses, also had rear entrances for staff to use without disturbing their employers. Uniformed doormen would greet those entering the building, and porters would escort visitors to the front door of the apartment they were visiting.
  • The upper three floors step back from the building envelope allowing the creation of roof terraces and proper penthouses, and almost unique feature in Britain at the time.
  • By the 1970s Embassy Court had fallen into a state of disrepair, and many of the freeholders had moved out to be replaced by those renting the apartments, which by this time were cheap housing students and benefits claimants. It was only in 2004 that the building was successfully renovated, and the freeholders moved back en masse with the block becoming an attractive piece of seafront housing again.

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Architect
Wells Coates
Main Contractor
Edwin & Company Ltd
Renovation Architect
Conran And Partners

Reference Data

Reference No.
4296
First Uploaded
19-02-2006
Last Editorial Date
21-10-2011
 

Building Location

Address
Kings Road, Brighton. BN1 2PX
Council
Brighton and Hove
County
East Sussex
Region
South East
Country
United Kingdom

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Building Specification

Status
Complete
Proposal date
1933
Construction start date
1934
Completion date
1936
Renovation Date
2004
Heritage Status
Grade II*
Style
Art Deco

Roof Height (AGL)
37.00 *

Total Floors (O.G)
12
Number of Lifts
7

Market Data

Primary Use
Residential

Flats
73

Metres > Feet

* Estimated Height