Designer appointed for Thames Estuary Experience

Published Tuesday, 17th October 2017

Hawkins and Brown logo in orange on white background

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has appointed Hawkins\Brown Architects to design the new Thames Estuary visitor attraction in Southend-on-Sea.

The original museum proposal is being refreshed to ensure it meets visitor interest and repeat appeal and will be located on Western Esplanade, overlooking the Thames estuary.

Hawkins\Brown is an award-winning architectural practice with offices in London and Manchester that specialises in designing innovative buildings that connect with their surrounding communities.

Councillor Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, said:  “Following a robust procurement process, I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Hawkins\Brown Architects to design the new Thames Estuary Experience.

“As well as offering a competitive bid for the project, we were very impressed by their previous experience of delivering high-quality buildings. They showed an excellent understanding of the challenges and opportunities surrounding a project such as this and we were struck by their obvious enthusiasm and vision for the new attraction.

“Hawkins\Brown will now start working closely with colleagues in the museums service to develop plans for what we need the Thames Estuary Experience to offer, within the space available.

“By next summer, we hope to be in a position to submit a new planning application for the scheme.

“Throughout the process, we will work with a range of key partner organisations, including the people of Southend, giving them the opportunity to contribute their thoughts and comments.

“We need a venue of this magnitude as a home for the internationally significant finds unearthed when the tomb of the Prittlewell Prince was uncovered here in Southend-on-Sea, as well as other nationally important finds such as those from the 17th century shipwreck of The London, a ship every bit as important for its time as the Mary Rose.

“We are determined that the new Thames Estuary Experience will further widen the town’s appeal by extending our cultural tourism offer and cement our growing position nationally and internationally as a year-round visitor destination of quality and choice.”

Hazel York, Partner at Hawkins\Brown, said:  "We are thrilled to be a part of the regeneration of Southend seafront. The new building will provide a destination for locals and visitors alike, celebrating Southend's rich heritage as well as broader stories of the Thames Estuary." 

As well as serving as a museum of national significance, the structure will also stabilise the cliffs and reconnect the surrounding gardens of the Cliffs Pavilion and Pier Hill. It is anticipated that the first phase of the project would be to construct seafront parking facilities, which would help generate some of the income for the construction of the museum.