The architects behind the restoration of Westminster and Big Ben have been appointed to lead the long-awaited first stage of work on the Madeira Terraces.
Specialist firm Purcell Architecture, based in Canterbury, have been awarded the contract for the first phase of the restoration.
As well as heritage sites, it is also known for incorporating environmental sustainability into their designs.
It also has extensive experience with heritage architecture and cast-iron structures, with a good understanding of the challenges involved in bringing sustainable practices to a heritage restoration project.
Its portfolio of restoration work includes the Houses of Parliament, the Elizabeth Tower (the tower that hosts the bell Big Ben) and Canterbury Cathedral.
Council leader Councillor Nancy Platts said: “The appointment of the architect is a positive step towards restoring the Madeira Terrace arches.
“Purcell has an excellent track record in restoration and I’m delighted that it is going to work on Madeira Terrace, helping to bring the backdrop of our city to life again.”
James Farrell, of the Madeira Terrace Advisory Panel, said: “The announcement of the architect being appointed is a great step forward for the Madeira Terrace restoration project.
“As a member of the Advisory Panel, I am looking forward to working with it to restore the terrace for a better future for our city’s seafront.”
Purcell’s work at the Palace of Westminster includes overseeing the ten year rolling programme of repairs to all cast iron roofs at the palace, conserving and restoring the bronze windows and supporting the design team and contractors to ensure that upgrades are sensitive to the historic fabric.
The council is currently in the process of procuring the rest of the design team to join the architects to explore options and produce detailed plans for the project (up to RIBA stage 4).
Once the planning application is approved and working drawings finalised the restoration work on site can be tendered to a contractor.
As part of developing the proposals, the architect and design team will meet with a range of stakeholders including the Advisory Panel set up by the community to work with the council on developing plans for the restoration of Madeira Terrace.
This first phase of restoration is known as the MT30 project based on the idea that designs are made for the restoration of 30 arches of the 151-arch structure.
It’s anticipated restoration of the whole terrace is likely to be undertaken in five phases over the coming years.
The MT30 project is based on a heritage led restoration of the existing structure and will establish the concept of regeneration and restoration for the whole of the terrace, helping the council meet its pledge for the city to become carbon neutral by 2030.
The ambition for Madeira Terrace is to creatively re-purpose it as a year-round place for sustainable tourism, leisure, recreation and culture.
The council says the MT30 project will embed so called circular economy principles – i.e. designing out waste – in the restoration and demonstrate environmental sustainability throughout its construction and operation.