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Hastings Contemporary

Hastings Contemporary (originally named the Jerwood Gallery) opened in 2012 to house the Jerwood Foundation's collection of modern British paintings and drawings, and a curated exhibitions programme of contemporary art across disciplines. It is sited on the Stade, a seafront area at the foot of the Old Town facing the fishing beach.

Our design won praise for its sensitive handling of form, the quality and intimacy of the internal gallery spaces, and its signature hand-glazed ceramic cladding which reflects and refracts the seaside light. Nestling among the unique listed 'net shops' of the fishing beach, it is carefully composed in dialogue with its context, whether viewed from the street or from the cliffs that overlook the roofscape.

The gallery has been widely published and won an RIBA National Award and Civic Trust Award. It was included in the Observer's top buildings of 2012.

A little jewel of a gallery, beautifully considered and detailed

Hugh Pearman, Sunday Times

The gallery sequence encourages visitors to explore the works through a series of rooms that lead up to spectacular views over the fishing beach. The rooms were scaled to the intimate quality of the Jerwood collection - mostly twentieth-century paintings originally intended for collector's houses rather than gallery settings. Daylight is carefully controlled and manipulated to give each room a different quality, with roof lanterns, attic northlights, and large north-facing windows.

The temporary exhibition space is a more raw, flexible space, with exposed concrete tempered by slatted timber roof lanterns. The building is an environmental exemplar, using ground source cooling to avoid air conditioning while meeting strict conservation controls.

A building that honours its context and its content and creates new pleasures in the relationships between the two

Rowan Moore, The Observer

Photography: Ioana Marinescu