Beach Huts

A multi-award winning project for New Forest District Council that delivered 119 beach huts and a new public realm within an inhabited sea defence.'

Milford-on-Sea beach huts is a multi-award winning project, providing 119 beach huts that form a new seawall and that is designed to resist a 1-in-200 year storm event. The project innovatively integrates public realm, beach huts, public art and sea defences into a single structure, creating what we call 'inhabited infrastructure'. The project uses Graphic Concrete and Reckli formwork to creatively make concrete beautiful. The project won the BCIA Climate Resilience Project of the Year 2018, a Civic Trust Award and the international Architecture Masterprize amongst a host of other national and international awards and demonstrates a ground breaking approach to the delivery of public infrastructure.

A key challenge was how to make concrete beautiful. The significant level of robustness required to ensure the project could withstand the extreme exposure and a 1:200 year storm event necessitated the use of concrete. Concrete is not universally loved by the British public. We therefore needed to find a way to make concrete beautiful. We took two approaches to refining the exposed surfaces. It was clear that for speed, cost efficiency and the need to build in a highly exposed environment, the use of off-site precast units would be the most appropriate. This allowed us to explore the use of formwork liners, specifically Graphic Concrete and Reckli.

Graphic Concrete on the front panels illustrates a range of local destinations, promoting a locally distinctive design.

The 119 unique beach hut numbers are also built into the casting process using Graphic Concrete

The end panels feature a bespoke spiralling artwork designed by Paul Bulkeley. It arranges 119 pieces of flotsam and jetsam in height order, collected from the beach and representing each of the huts destroyed by the 2014 storm, and was cast in the Reckli factory in Germany.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The huts are climate resilient by design and can withstand a 1:200 year storm event. The new upper promenade also provide a stunning location to view the sea.

...and here is evidence it all works during an actual storm in 2020!