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Designing the Seaside : Architecture, Society and Nature, Paperback / softback Book

Designing the Seaside : Architecture, Society and Nature Paperback / softback


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.


  • Format: Paperback / softback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Architecture
  • ISBN: 9781861894403

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