Leading Article: Opportunity lost

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The Independent Online

The recreation centre and flats planned for the seafront at Hove is not the first major project to fall victim to the financial crisis, and it will surely not be the last. But it is one that is probably more deserving of being mourned more than most. This was to have been Britain's first major building by Frank Gehry. A cluster of towers would have replaced a dilapidated Thirties leisure centre; it would have been a work that was adventurous, and distinctive.

As with so much that is adventurous in art and architecture, the plans drew fierce local opposition, which coalesced around restoring the existing building. Certainly, restoration has its place; "regenerated" too often meant unsightly concrete boxes. In this case, though, Brighton has let slip an opportunity to build a contemporary masterpiece that could have become a source of pride to residents and drawn visitors in its own right. Frank Gehry has lost a commission, but the far greater loss is to Brighton.