~ Design & Technology ~ 

Bexhill Pavilion ~ continued...

Erich Mendelsohn was an architect who had been born in 1887 in Poland.  After studying economics at Munich he moved to Berlin to study architecture.  He befriended the expressionist painters Wassily Kandinsky , Paul Klee, Franz Marc and Hugo Ball as well as astrophysicist Erwin Freundlich. 

During the First World war Mendelsohn fought on the Western Front and at the end of 1918 returned to Berlin to open his first major exhibition "Architecture in Steel and Concrete" after setting up his architectural practice there. On a trip to the USA in 1924 he became acquainted with Frank Lloyd Wright and in 1933 he emigrated via Holland to England where his association with Serge Chermayeff began.

Earl de la Warr's competition was a response to the real need to boost tourism and to recapture some of the visitors that had been travelling to the costlier and far more famous French and Italian Mediterranean resorts.  The strategy was supported by the Southern railway who reduced ticket prices to make travelling more attractive   and increased the number of trains to make the journeys more convenient.  The architectural competition was aimed at modernising the architectural styles of the area and Mendelsohn and Chermayeff's design was the first building in this country to be constructed around a welded steel frame. Its long, low concrete surfaces and glass surrounded staircase dominates the headland on which it stands.  A review of the 'best modern' buildings in England by English Heritage and Channel Four Television ranked the building in 3rd place behind Coventry Cathedral and Liverpool Catholic Cathedral.