Beach House, Davenport Road

Beach House, Davenport Road

The immemorial relationship between sea and shore is explored in this project for a weekend beach house on the south coast of England near Bognor Regis. The clients commissioned a large retreat for entertaining and enjoying the sybaritic delights of seaside life. The imposing, three-storey dwelling steps down to take advantage of a wonderful synthesis of light and views, creating a series of terraces and decks like an ocean liner in full sail.

Spatial organisation is carefully calibrated around the routines of entertaining, sailing and bathing, both in the sea and in the house’s specially-designed swimming pool. Ample car parking and three guest bedrooms accommodate weekend visitors, who are greeted on entry by a spectacular triple-height atrium designed to bring light down into the plan. The main living area is elevated on a first floor piano nobile as a fluid, open-plan space bounded by a huge glass wall overlooking the sea, dissolving the boundary between nature and artifice.

Floors are logically divide according to front and back-of-house functions. Services areas and a boat house are placed on the shore side, with bedrooms and living spaces facing the sea. Details such as a changing and decompression space to prevent sand from being brought into the house, a staircase that acts as a windbreak and a secure plant room that can still be accessed when the owners are away, are all thoughtful responses to the seaside milieu.

Together, they contrive to enhance and elevate the concept of a vacation house in both practical and experiential terms. Though at present the project remains unbuilt, the ideas that informed it fed through into a subsequent scheme for a beach house in Carmel, California. [By Catherine Slessor*]

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Design Team Paul McAneary Architects

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