Brighton has several. Littlehampton has one. Margate sure has one. A shocker of a tower block. Designed by Philip Russell Diplock and built by Bernard Sunley in 1964, Arlington House is Marmite architecture. At 18 storeys it is the only building to scrape the sky along the low rise beach front. Margate Sands is north facing so the wider sun catching east and west elevations of the tower block have jagged profiles to capture sea views. Clever. The exterior is more or less ornament free. Each core of each floor of the cast concrete monolith serves just four apartments.
Arlington House looks down on Dreamland, a Grade II* listed amusement park dating from the 1880s. Dreamland Cinema is the visible seaward face of the amusement park. The purply red brick abstract elevations designed by Julian Leathart and Messrs Iles and Granger in the early 1930s are enlivened by yellow neon signs. Architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, lovers of Las Vegas and neon, would approve. “Time is money. So resting must be specialised,” wrote Adolf Loos in Ornament and Crime. The great modernist architect was writing about chairs but the same could be applied to vacations. So a staycation in Margate continues to thrill and delight.