Designing the Seaside: Architecture, Society and Nature

Front Cover
Reaktion Books, 2006 - Architecture - 336 pages
In Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, a seaside resort was the setting for thievery and intrigue. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers tap-danced their way to fame at a Brighton resort in The Gay Divorcee. The seaside resort has always held a special fascination, a place of containment and leisure that has a unique form in the physical landscape: towering hotels, shop-lined boardwalks, and sprawling beaches. Fred Gray delves into the history of seaside architecture here in Designing the Seaside, writing the rich and international story of the seaside resort’s diverse structures from the eighteenth century through today.

Gray is interested not only in the physical structures but also the cultural mores they represent—the “yearly holiday,” and our attitudes about leisure. The coastal landscape has been transformed by this geography of relaxation, and Gray considers the physical and cultural shifts that occurred when shops, boardwalks, and hotels buried sand dunes and marshes beneath their beams. He examines the design processes that went into creating the diverse buildings and spaces within a seaside resort, giving full attention to ephemeral structures such as pavilions and summer gift shops as well as the trademark hotel buildings, fairgrounds, and open spaces. Designing the Seaside also reveals how events such as beauty pageants made seaside resorts into sites of debate over conflicted issues of sexuality and morality.

Drawing on a diverse array of historical material—photographs, guidebooks, postcards, and posters—Fred Gray offers a fascinating account of the cultural and social symbolism of the seaside resort and its role in the modern landscape.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
7
Nature and Seaside Architecture
17
Building the Seaside
45
Representing the Edge
65
The Seaside as Another Place
91
Designing Resort Open Spaces
115
Architecture for Sea and Beach
147
From Bath House to Water Park
177
Pavilions and Amusement Parks
245
Sleeping by the Sea
278
REFERENCES
308
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
324
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
328
PHOTO ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
329
INDEX
331
Copyright

Walking on Water
201

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About the author (2006)

Fred Gray is a senior lecturer in urban studies at the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Sussex.

Bibliographic information