La Frégate café given Grade 2 listed status

Credit: ITV Channel

St Helier's 'upturned boat' café - La Frégate - has been made a listed building, following a recommendation from Jersey Heritage.

As the island's authority on buildings of special interest, the charity says the waterfront café should be preserved because of its "architectural significance".

In its report recommending it be protected from future redevelopment, Jersey Heritage said it could be argued La Frégate has become one of the island's "landmark buildings", especially because of its provenance.

The building opened in 1997 and was one of the earliest works of award-winning architect Will Alsop, as well as Jerseymen Derek Mason and John Leveridge.

The café's design has divided opinion ever since the plans were first unveiled. Credit: ITV/Jersey Archive/Jersey Evening Post

At the time, some islanders described the building as looking like a "pregnant armadillo" or a "beached whale".

But the Twentieth Century Society - a UK charity which campaigns to preserve noteworthy 'modern' buildings says: "The structure expresses the innovative approach to design that characterised Will Alsop’s career. It is an exceptional, well- preserved piece of late 20th-century design.

"Its exterior, an exercise in ‘wilful shape-making’, is unique and innovative, and its interiors thoughtful and contemporary".

While La Frégate's newfound listed status doesn't prevent future changes to how the area is used, it does mean future planning decisions affecting the area - including one to build 1,000 new homes on the St Helier waterfront - will need to take the building's heritage into account.

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