BY GRAPHIC CONCRETE
Milford-on-Sea, a large village on the south coast of England in Hampshire, is scenically located and protected from development by a surrounding green belt of land. From the beach, the Needles of the Isle of Wight are clearly visible on most days. To replace the 60-year-old beach huts that were severely damaged in violent storms in 2014, 119 new beach huts have been built on the seafront at Milford-on-Sea featuring Graphic Concrete.
The new huts and promenade extend 300 meters along the coastline and were designed to enhance the seafront, withstand the challenging coastal conditions and meet the needs of beach hut users, including locals and visitors. The replacement huts are set back into the upper promenade, which has been extended out over the huts to reduce their exposure to the elements. It also enables visitors to enjoy the spectacular views, which were once blocked by the historic huts. The lower promenade is being widened, improving access for wheelchairs and pushchairs, providing further protection to the huts and removing the gap that existed between the upper prom and the old huts.
To withstand the winter storms, the huts are being built of both precast and in-situ concrete. The design seeks to express the aesthetic potential of concrete. The front panels in Graphic Concrete aim to convey the elegance of concrete and the capacity for it to reflect the landscape by illustrating locally distinctive views in an innovative and unexpected way. Images were rasterized and imparted with Graphic Concrete membrane on the precast concrete surfaces.
The panel illustrations encourage visitors to explore other historic and ecological sites along the coast. Unique nautical silhouettes have also been discretely located within the concrete panels, encouraging a spirit of discovery and adventure for children.
Marrying concrete’s inherent properties with the new technology and level of creativity enabled by Graphic Concrete has allowed the material’s potential to be realised. Colour, dynamism and delight has then been provided via the brightly coloured doors.
Following completion, the project has received a lot of praise from the public and beach hut users and provides a positive contribution to this beautiful coastal location. The Milford-on-Sea Beach Huts by Snug Architects was a winner in The Concrete Society’s 2017 Excellence in Concrete Awards, the longest-running awards event in the UK construction industry. Now in their 49th year, the prestigious awards initiative showcases the use of concrete as a structural material.
The project won a Civic Trust Award and the BCIA Climate Resilience Project of the Year in 2018.
Photos by MartinGardner.com