Find us on Facebook  See us on Instagram  Tweet us on Twitter

Brighton Marina has two floating concourses with holiday homes on the top of them. They were built in 1978 so it could claim to be the first floating village  in the UK.

Floating developments

Modern floating structures using concrete hulls built in the UK actually date back to 1978 when Brighton Marina was constructed and when the holiday homes were built it became the UK's first floating village. More recently the Brockholes floating visitor centre was opened in 2011.

Many new plans such as Boris Johnson’s floating village for the Royal Docks have failed to materialise but the need for this type of development is becoming more urgent with the acute shortage of housing.

Brockholes floating visitor village

The pontoon was designed by Adam Khan Architects, and engineered by Price & Myers and Max Fordham. Constructed by Mansell Construction and Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering, the innovative platform is a cellular reinforced concrete structure with polystyrene infills. Special measures have been taken in line with the sustainable objectives of the project, including the use of 4800 tonnes of recycled concrete and environmental management.  Floating on the largest lake on the site, the pontoon will support a cluster of 5 buildings forming the new landmark Visitor Centre, and bringing the experience of the wetland habitat closer to the visitors.

Brockholes floating visitor village

Brockholes floating visitor centre


Royal Docks

A great deal of time and expense was put into the plan to see part of the Royal Victoria Docks transformed into a floating village with homes, offices, shops and restaurants, but unfortunately failed.

Boris Johnson announces ‘Floating Village’ Plans for Royal Docks

Brighton Marina

The two concrete floating concourses in Brighton Marina have seventy split level studio holiday homes, the Premier Marina office and berth holder and visitor toilet and shower facilities.                                

Western concourse, Brighton Marina

The western concourse in Brighton Marina.

The concourse substructure is a cellular box 159.60 m long, 9.60 m wide and 1.80 m deep. The hull is divided longitudinally and transversely by diaphragms into bays not exceeding 15 m length. Ribs at 3 m centres provide a secondary slab support system and lateral stiffening (Fig. 1). The concourse superstructure is a rigidly jointed steel frame, divided into three approximately equal bays, clad with lightweight concrete. A 30 m span bridge links each concourse to the shore. The concourses are moored at each end of the leading pile of each dolphin.

Figure 90: Cross-section of the concourse







Figure 1. Cross section of the concourse. Plans VSL Systems Ltd.

The concourses were constructed in a temporary dry dock formed by dewatering the lagoon (Fig. 2). Work commenced in July 1976. The lagoon was flooded in January 1978 and the concourses floated out in February 1978. The west concourse was completed in June 1978, the eastern one in September 1978.

Constructing the concourses in the marina basin. Photo VSL Systems Ltd. Thame

Figure 2 The concourses under construction.

Text, plan and photo courtesy of VSL Systems Ltd.