RX Architects designed Seabreeze as a holiday home that will be lived in for part of the year and let out by the owners when not in use.
Located right on the edge of the beach facing the English Channel, the building’s picturesque and exposed location – accessible only by the beach and backing onto a Site of Special Scientific Interest that attracts migratory birds – posed a number of logistical problems and heavily influenced the design.
Large windows designed to make the most of the views and shake off the worst of the sand lie flush against the micro-cement facade without sills or lintels that might allow damaging sand and salt to collect. Gutters and relief detailing have been omitted for the same reason.
The architects turned to colour to soften the resulting strikingly sharp form, selecting a soft pink pigment for the concrete that nods to the pastel painted beach huts that line this part of the coast.
“The site is unique in that it is one of only a handful of properties in the region which are only accessed by driving along the beach making the construction extremely challenging,” said the practice, which is based in nearby Rye, East Sussex.
“The designs are focused on creating a robust building to cope with the extreme weather conditions, with high winds, moving sand and salt air. The external material selection was carefully considered to be robust and strong, however the pink pigment in the finish softens the visual impact and sets the building off against the dramatic and ever changing backdrop of the sky and beach.”
A large open-planed living area faces the beach at ground level and is adjoined by a small decked terrace interrupted by a sand dune. To the rear there is a spa with a steam room, sauna and plunge pool, and upstairs three bedrooms and accompanying bathrooms.
The interiors are finished in a combination of oak cladding that lend a sense of warmth to the spaces, light terrazzo flooring with an aggregate referencing the shingle beach and lime paint that introduces a subtle texture to the walls.
The building is heated and cooled passively though an MVHR system and a pair of 90-metre-deep bore holes, while triple-glazed windows reduce external noise from the “hostile and exposed environment” of the exposed beach.