Designing the Seaside: Architecture, Society and Nature

Gray, Fred (2006) Designing the Seaside: Architecture, Society and Nature. Reaktion Books, London. ISBN 9781861892744

Full text not available from this repository.


The notion of taking a seaside holiday has only existed since the 18th century, when it was slowly becoming accepted that fresh air and sea water are good for health. Since then, a vast array of seaside resorts to suit all budgets has been developed in all areas of the world along with fairgrounds, piers, holiday camps, boardwalks, swimming pools and casinos. In addition, the seaside has seen the development of a variety of distinctive architectures, from the smallest beach hut to the grandest of hotels.

In Designing the Seaside, Fred Gray provides a history of seaside architecture from the 18th century to the present day. He covers the formal and informal design processes involved in major buildings as well as ephemeral structures from piers and pavilions to resort parks and open spaces, to shops selling candy floss. While the book’s chief focus is Britain, it also contains numerous examples from the USA, Europe and the Far East.

Seaside architecture often assumes iconic cultural status that defines either specific resorts (the Blackpool Tower, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton) or the nature of a holiday by the coast (the pier and holiday camp). The development of the seaside has also involved transforming existing landscapes: what were once perceived as marginal or valueless sites – cliffs, sand dunes and marsh – were reclaimed for resorts and often developed into good quality, even exotic towns.

Featuring informative and often entertaining photographs, architectural drawings, guidebooks, postcards and railway and publicity posters, this book provides a thoroughly readable as well as visually fascinating account of changing attitudes to holiday-making and its setting. Gray explores questions of taste, fashion, class and gender and particularly how the seaside became a hotbed for issues of morality and sexuality – from bathing machines to beauty pageants.

Item Type: Book
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Centre for Community Engagement
Depositing User: Fred Gray
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:14
Last Modified: 24 May 2012 09:49
📧 Request an update