Hastings Observer Loft Development

More a resurrection than a redevelopment, our design for the Observer Building in Hastings, UK, brought a derelict 1920s building back to life and made it the contemporary heart of Hastings’ creative White Rock community. 

Once a bustling hub of breaking news, the landmark building sat disused for 30 years – with only pigeons and graffiti artists inside its walls. Our concept revived the buzz by waking up the building and putting it to immediate use as a community space – mixing pop-up installations and exhibitions, table tennis, family activities, creative workshops and a bar.

These temporary works were the first step of a phased development that would see the heritage building converted into a mix of loft apartments, restaurants and artists’ studios.

The proposed design would ensure the legacy of the original Observer Building, with a contemporary twist – and drop-dead views. Importantly, it would be a beacon to attract talent, ambition and investment to Hastings.


All Living Things


Hastings, UK





Design team

Julian Gitsham, Ashley Littlewood, Sarah Willats, Antoine Pascal, Chris Chesters, Evelyn Choy, Eliza de Silva, Miguel Reyna, Nicholas DeBruyne


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The project’s heritage considerations and its prominence in the town meant the process for gaining planning approval was long and complex. Our team led large stakeholder presentations and community-wide workshops, as well as more detailed presentations to external design review panels and Historic England. We were also closely associated with the temporary re-use of the building, which saw support and employment teams working with locals who needed employment and training.

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