Architect: Wells Coates
Share of Freehold
This bright three-bedroom apartment with three balconies is located on the sixth floor of Brighton’s iconic Embassy Court and represents an excellent opportunity for updating. The Grade II*-listed building, completed in 1936, was designed by celebrated architect Wells Coates and is considered one of the finest examples of British pre-war Modernism.
Internal accommodation extends to approximately 1,430 sq ft. There are three large bedrooms along the west-facing aspect, and a study (formerly a bathroom) between the kitchen and bathroom. The expansive living room occupies a corner position and has access to two large balconies, one with southerly sea views. There is also a separate WC.
Embassy Court inherited its nautical silhouettes from Coates’ Isokon in Hampstead, London, which was completed the year before. The building was subject to a comprehensive refurbishment overseen by the practice of Sir Terence Conran, which concluded in 2006 and re-associated Embassy Court with the elegance and high-class living enjoyed during its early years.
Embassy Court is located seconds from the beach and a short walk from all that Brighton has to offer. The area enjoys an increasing wealth of excellent restaurants and cafes from Western Road to the bohemian quarter of the North Laines. The historical charm of neighbouring Lewes and the natural beauty of the South Downs are both within ten miles.
Brighton and Hove train stations are both around a mile away and collectively offer up to 10 direct trains an hour to various London stations each taking just over an hour.
Tenure: Share of Freehold
Lease Length: approx. 999 years (from 2007)
Service Charge: approx. £5,915 per annum
Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.
A 19th-century villa by the name of Western House once stood at the junction of Western Street and Kings Road on the cusp between Brighton and Hove. At one time owned by Waldorf Astor the site was chosen for redevelopment in 1930 whereupon it was demolished and eventually acquired by Maddox Properties in 1934.
The developers turned immediately to Modernist-architect Wells Coates following the completion of his iconic Isokon building in London earlier that year, to design for the site a luxury block of flats as a speculative seafront development.
The building itself is one of only three residential properties designed by Coates and exemplified a transition from the pure Art Deco style popular in the early 1930s towards a more stripped-back interpretation of Modernism. Its 11 storeys rise to 110 feet in height and it was the first building in England to feature penthouse suites among its 72 apartments. Despite the dominance of the building among the neighbouring sea-front Regency houses, English architect C.H. Reilly wrote of Embassy Court that he had ‘seen no big really modern building at home or abroad which, as a whole, satisfies me more’.
In his book ‘MODERN: The Modern Movement In Britain’ Alan Power wrote, ‘the structure was intended to be a diagonal beam grid, invented in Budapest, giving a continuous floor of minimum thickness without projecting beams in the ceiling, thus allowing freedom of internal layout’. This plan was vetoed by local authorities and it was the lift shafts that ultimately served to strengthen the core structure.
Following a period of ownership disputes during the early 1990s, the Grade II*-listed building fell into disrepair until a co-operative of individual owners commissioned Conran Partners to carry out an extensive refurbishment project which completed in 2006.
Wells Coates (1895 – 1958) was born in Japan to a mother who had trained in architecture under Louis Sullivan. His mother encouraged his interest in the profession, although his formal training was in engineering and his first job was as a journalist for the Daily Express. Coates spent his childhood in the Far East, built his most important buildings in Britain, and moved to the United States and then Canada after the Second World War, where he spent his final days. He embraced Le Corbusier’s theory that houses should be “machines for living in” and developed some of the most progressive housing projects in London of the 1930s. In his most famous apartment block, Isokon in Hampstead, he demonstrated his theory that with a well-planned kitchen, bathroom and dressing room, one-room living should be possible. He established his own firm in 1928, and alongside Maxwell Fry he established the British wing of think-tank CIAM: Modern Architectural Research Group (MARS).
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