Centenary Park in Peacehaven in the running for top award

Gateway cafe Peacehaven
Gateway cafe Peacehaven

A cafe which forms the Gateway to the Centenary Park in Peacehaven has been shortlisted for a top architecture award.

Kaner Olette, the architects behind the Gateway Interpretation Cafe at the park, are in the running for the AJ Retrofit awards 2015.

The firm is competing in the leisure category for its design to convert a former park workshop into a cafe and archaeological interpretation centre.

Architect Mike Kaner said: “The benefits of reusing the existing structure reduces the requirement for demolition, taking material to landfill as well as the cost and carbon footprint of new materials.

“Coupled to this the capital costs are kept down.

“We also like the idea of working within the constraints of reusing buildings and the transformation that can be achieved.”

The Gateway Cafe building was originally built in 1979 to house a council maintenance depot.

Features included an asbestos roof, brick walls and unattractive security fencing.

On a modest budget the project was a challenge but Architect Mike Kaner is a keen advocate of retrofitting.

By reusing the original footprint of the building, disturbance of the important site’s archaeology was also avoided.

The roof was replaced with recyclable zinc and the exterior walls insulated and clad with sweet chestnut which suits the coastal environment.

The Gateway Interpretation Cafe contains carbon reducing features such as a wood pellet stove which produces hot water and heating.

Solar panels on the roof produce hot water and electricity and Kaner Olette said it was also aesthetically pleasing, with its framed view of the South Downs National Park and contemporary vernacular.

A spokesperson for the Big Parks Project, which led the ambitious development of the new park said: “It really is a great asset, not only to the Big Park but for the local community as a whole.”

The cafe was part of a £2.1m redevelopment of the park.

Winners will be announced at The Brewery London on Wednesday September 16.

The award seeks to reward the best work and the brightest thinking, with previous winners including the Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts and Brighton University.

The award was created by The Architects Journal to recognise and reward achievements in design, engineering and construction.