A sea change for our historic resorts

De La Warr Pavillion, BexhillIf you want to see the most innovative, exciting, bizarre, jaw dropping, elegant, amusing, technologically advanced architecture and built environment in England - there is once place to look - the seaside.

Since seaside resorts were invented in the 18th century they have been at the forefront of architectural innovation. As places originally devoted to health, then to leisure and downright excess; they have developed new types of buildings and built environment elements from sea bath houses to piers and a legacy of promenades, exotic tropical gardens and exuberant carpet bedding. The seaside has embraced every style imaginable and invented a few of its own. In many cases the most ambitious structures in new styles were adopted by resorts very early - from the orientalism of the Royal Pavilion Brighton, to the flowering of international style modernism of De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill and the Saltdean Lido. The seaside has been at the forefront of architectural experimentation and this position is one that the Sea Change grant programme is keen to support , to help restore and find new uses for this unique historic infrastructure and also to support resorts continuing to innovate using quality contemporary art and design . Resorts need to think about what is unique and special about them and continue to preserve and build on this heritage of innovation and Sea Change is a programme that should help many to do just that. For details see - www.cabe.org.uk/seachange

Richard Simmons, Chief Executive, CABE