Concrete and timber articulate an eye-catching dwelling on the West Sussex coast by AR Design Studio


Martin Gardner

Designed by Winchester-based architect AR Design Studio, Creek House is a 458-square-metre new-build house in Bosham, West Sussex. Located beside an estuary and adjacent to an architecturally acclaimed dwelling by Michael Manser, the site is within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Bosham Conservation Area.


The two-storey house is influenced by the geometries and materials of nearby Chichester, while also incorporating a contemporary aesthetic that undoubtedly challenges the local vernacular, says the architect. Sketch-based analysis of the harbour by the design team resulted in a collage of traditional pitched roof forms. This was abstracted into a single form: the visual movement of the silhouette merging with the Bosham skyline. The motion concept also draws its inspiration from the tidal ebb and flow of the estuary.

Ground- and first-floor plans 

In terms of planning, the bedrooms and service spaces occupy the ground floor, while the kitchen, living areas and master bedroom are located above to maximise the views towards the estuary and harbour. The concrete base structure comprises three distinct ‘blocks’ with smaller openings for privacy in the bedrooms. Much like a defensive sea wall, the masonry is intended to create a sense of protection from the elements. The tone, texture and tactility of the material draws its inspiration from the nearby Holy Trinity Church. From above, a beam of light falls onto the concrete walls through the stair void; the angle of the light shifting throughout the day.


Contrasting with the concrete plinth is the sculpted timber-clad first-floor, which is designed to weather and age in harmony with its tree-lined setting. The volume is cranked to open up the living space to views over the estuary. This also creates a ‘dynamic’ silhouette when viewed from the water.


Skylights flood the deep, open-plan living space with natural light. Smaller apertures are employed in the master bedroom and ensuite to maintain privacy and provide framed views out. Features aimed at age-proofing the house for the client include a concealed lift, and a laundry chute from the master bed to the ground-floor utility room.

Additional Images


AR Design Studio
Structural engineer
Andrew Waring Associates
Peter Caldecott

Timber cladding
Inwood Developments
Concrete specialist
David Bennett