Sunday, May 4, 2008

Labworth Cafe, Canvey Island

Labworth Cafe, Canvey IslandThe Labworth Cafe on Canvey Island is a wonderful modernist concrete building overlooking the Thames.

With a large round central section, 2 storeys tall, and symmetrical wings supporting rooftop terraces surrounded by simple metal railings, it resembles the bridge of a ship.

The building was designed by engineer Ove Arup in 1932, one of his few architectural projects.

Arup, the son of Danish parents, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne. He studied and worked in England and Denmark before settling to London. In 1934 he was structural consultant to Tecton for Berthold Lubetkin’s Penguin Pool at London Zoo.

In 1946 he formed Arup & Partners and later worked as design engineer for the Sydney Opera House from 1957-1973.

Although he died in 1988, the company he founded is still active in international construction projects including the main stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.