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A piECE of our mind: Worthing Festival 2023

Live art installation celebrating 'Our Worthing' during Worthing Festival 2023.

ECE Architecture joined this year’s Worthing Festival with a live art installation unfolding during the festival to celebrate ‘Our Worthing’.

Residing in the award-winning Bayside building on the seafront, we have been located in Worthing since ECE formed in 2011 and as architects we find ourselves constantly inspired by our immediate surroundings. Worthing is full of architectural gems in the vibrant built environment with amazing Georgian, Victorian, and Art Deco heritage benefitting from the close connection to the extraordinary coastline and natural marine environment.

Not only does Worthing have some fascinating architecture (with 26 conservation areas) but it has a fantastic array of natural beauty including the 47m2 Kingmere Marine Conservation zone.

A piECE of our mind

During the Worthing Festival (June 10th to 18th 2023), our team led by Dean Thody (Associate Architect) turned our studio windows into live canvasses to highlight the issues and celebrate the facts surrounding our unique coastal location. Using hand-drawn artwork, our aim was to inspire and educate; the chosen medium as a nod to our architectural skills we use every day to design buildings.

We are constantly being challenged by the effects of climate change which continue to affect our built and natural environments. As a company, we are committed to a strong sustainability agenda that reflects the challenges climate change brings. The motifs were chosen carefully to create a curated story about ‘Our Worthing’ and the trials we all face.

You can find more information on each bay’s design below.

Bay 1: The power of wind

Wind energy is prevalent in Worthing and we have excellent views of the Rampion Wind Farm. This window highlights the sheer size of the turbines, but also the importance of finding energy sources that are kinder to our environment. As architects, we look to integrate sustainable energy in our designs where we can, with solar power being a popular option in the sunny South.

Bay 2: Plastic pollution

Unfortunately, plastic bottles, bags and bits are commonly found in our waters proving a danger to the marine life. The beautiful compass jellyfish, which form part of a fragile ecosystem, is just one of the species that are under threat from many causes of pollution including the release of plastics into our oceans.

Did you know that 1 in 3 fish caught for human consumption contains plastic? (Surfers Against Sewage, 2023)

Bay 3: Protecting our seas

Our marine life is also under threat of overfishing and trawling, but luckily some areas are protected. Lying some three miles off the coast of Worthing, the “Worthing Lumps” are a series of underwater chalk cliffs, up to three metres high. These underwater cliffs are believed to be at least 78 million years old and are part of the Kingmere Marine Conservation Zone.

The site has been declared a Site of Nature Conservation Importance by West Sussex County Council and has been a protected area since 2013 because of its fragile chalk reefs.

The site is home to an array of species including nesting seabreams, conger eels, dogfish, spider crabs, lobsters as well as the tiny tompot blennies (measuring a mere 20cm), which is depicted on bay 4 of our windows (Kingmere MCZ, 2023).

Bay 4: Swimming with the fish

Although it may seem apocalyptic, we might see landmarks like the Grade II Listed Edwardian Dome Cinema under water in the near future. With the rising temperatures, water levels are expected to rise 30-35 cm by 2050 (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, 2022), which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it could have a massive impact on the UK shoreline and waterways. We could therefore see known landmarks like the Dome Cinema swimming with the tiny tompot blenny in the future if we carry on like we are.

Bay 5 and 6: Protect our pollinators

It isn’t just life below water that is suffering. On land, we are seeing a serious decline of butterflies and bees – vital in keeping our land green and thriving. Plant species such as yellow horned poppy, sea daisies, starry clover, viper’s bugloss and thrift appear during late spring and early summer and have proven to be ideal habitats for the surrounding wildlife including Sussex bees.

Here are some ways you can help our pollinators at home:

  1. Plant wild flowers in your garden or keep the weeds as they are great for pollinators.
  2. Help them keep hydrated by providing water in little bowls around your garden.
  3. Provide nest sites for wild bees and other pollinators.

Bay 7: Promenading

Preservation and conservation of our historic seafront architecture is celebrated in a scene depicting shelters, paddle boarders, families, cyclists.

Homelessness is also captured as an important local issue. Amazing local charities such as Turning Tides provide a range of homeless support services in West Sussex, covering Adur and Worthing, Littlehampton, Horsham District and Mid Sussex.

Bay 8: The pier

This scene celebrates our beautiful and iconic Worthing Pier – a 19th Century Art Deco pier originally built as a landing stage in 1862.

Highlights of the Worthing Pier:

Bay 9: Our Worthing

Our office is located at the base of the Bayside development (which recently won an RTPI Planning Excellence award) surrounded by a unique local natural and built environment. We have to protect what is around us for the generations to come – whether buildings, flora, fauna or fish. As architects we are working hard to ensure we do everything in our power to do just that and invite you to do the same to protect ‘Our Worthing’.

Graphic design and original artwork by Dean Thody.

Special thanks to the entire art team:

Adamantios Xanthoudidis

Andrew Maguire

Dean Thody

Emma Weale

Helena Wagg

Ioannis Miltiadou

Jarrod Brownhill

Jessica Smith

Kara Brown

Katerina Prapa

Kayla Torres

Kean Elliott  

Laura Spence

Michael Pirrie 

Niya Kondeva

Rebecca Bignell

Sharon Le Goff

Stefan Munteanu

Stuart Eatock

Veronika Mølbæk


Photography: Mike B Designs