On the promenade in Margate there is an enormous set of public conveniences recessed into the protective seawall. Built for a bygone era, and dilapidated to the point of collapse, they attract graffiti and risk a breach in the sea defences. Presented by a developer with this ‘problem site’, we were amazed by the proximity to the beach and its mesmerising view out over the waves. Our proposals overcame complex flood risk constraints, use-class limitations, and concerns from locals in the conservation area, to achieve planning permission for a new build house, with access at both street and promenade level.
The design infills and ‘heals’ the gap in the defences, by embedding the house into the seawall. Large windows are cut-out to make the most of the seascape views painted by Turner, and metal doors open directly onto the prom from an internal store and changing room, like a built-in beach hut. Spaces inside are part two storey and part one storey - a dramatic tall living room - to avoid blocking views from the flats behind. Bedrooms are placed on the upper storey meeting flood risk criteria, the lower floor is raised with flood defences, and the facade structure designed to withstand waves during 1 in 100 year storm conditions. As an atmospheric place to live or holiday, it would be hard to beat.