Bracing walks across windswept beaches. Picking over rock pools and collecting endless shells, sandwiched with more than a trace of sand in them, huddling against the Caribbean pinks and blues of the beach huts sharing piping hot chips and laughter, even when it rains: The British seaside at its best. With our proposal for the Whitehaven Harbour Central Site Competition, we wanted to recreate the best of the British seascape; the colours, freedom and wide open views matched with innovative architecture that uses the best of cutting-edge materials as well as our environmental expertise. The iconic British beach hut is the foundation of our design proposal. We propose the use of natural materials that reflect British maritime tradition throughout timber, steel and slate. The beach hut-based design climbs delicately into the sky line, proving as exciting a view for those looking at the building as for those looking from it. We passionately believe in creating architecture that reflects the best of the past interpreted in a way which inspires the future. The colours and proportions reflect our aim of championing the best of the British seaside while respecting the need for a building that does not scream anything. The commercial side of the building sits smoothly and subtly into the overall scheme there is nothing garish or loud about how we combine this commercial and residential opportunity. Thisand we believe we have created a scheme which breaks this largeness down into manageable sizes so it never dominates belligerently the surrounding area. We want to create a sense of discovery about different aspects of the building while avoiding the creation of a monolith which overwhelms. Our scheme trots merrily along on the right side of that delicate line; of being exciting and innovative without being a totem to commercialism and aggression. In keeping with the developer's brief, we have created four types of residential units which sit together like an extremely efficient jigsaw puzzle. Whilst maximizing the sea view of each apartment type, we have also managed to provide and efficient mix of units which rises up and down from one end to the other of the site like a rolling wave. Always taking the neighbouring buildings into consideration, we aim for this building to sit comfortably in this most traditional of settings.
Our ground floor includes amenities for the residents of the building, including a seafront-facing gym and underground parking. There is also space on the sea-front side for a Whitehaven maritime museum or gallery space to bring the history of the town right into it's core. The rest of the commercial office spaces, facing the street behind, are designed to be flexible and open-plan to accommodate for different sized businesses and needs. In keeping with our desire to always make environmental concerns an active cornerstone of our design we include plans to ensure the central spine of the building provides natural ventilation to residential and commercial spaces alike. We want this to be a building which makes the people of Whitehaven smile. We believe our design complements the natural beauty of the surrounding area while inspiring the whole town, making them feel welcome and at home.