The families of John Young and Charles Meloy have enjoyed a long history with The Kench, a small tidal inlet off Langstone Harbour enclosed by a spit of land at the west end of Hayling Island. The site became a summer holiday destination in the 1930's when the Hayling Health Society was established with a mixture of rudimentary beach huts and houseboats. Over the years, these were passed from one generation to the next and been rebuilt or substantially upgraded with most of the houseboats replaced by permanent structures.
Seeking a second beach house for his extended family, John Young secured the last remaining undeveloped lot, and collaborated with Meloy Architects to realize his plans.
The rules of the Hayling Health Society stipulate a maximum floor area of 750 sq.ft. (70 sq.m.) gross, and the spirit of the original chalets is prevalent in the new single storey structure. The Kench has the highest flood risk designation from the Department of the Environment resulting in a requirement for the floor level to be 750 mm higher than the existing chalets. This developed a response whereby the new chalet 'floats' above the existing ground level with access via a ramp.
The general arrangement is an open plan living area with integral kitchen oriented towards Langstone Harbour and The Kench. A floor to ceiling glass wall can be folded away to encourage outdoor living, and the generous roof overhang provides protection from the summer sun without restricting heat gain from the lower winter sun. Two bedrooms at the rear wrap around a WC/bathroom core and extend outwards to enjoy
seaward views through full height glazed doors, there being no significant outlook to the west. These bedrooms, coded port/starboard (red/green), feature collages by artist Steve McPherson using plastic waste washed up on the beach. Lockers to store nautical paraphernalia are integrated into the rear of the structure.
Although intended for summer time occupation, construction methods and materials are to the highest standard to allow year round occupation if required. Because of the sandy soils, Havant Borough Council insisted on piling and this supports a light steel frame to form the enclosure. Glazing is either full height to maximize the views or high level clerestory where no views exist. Solid walls are a highly insulated synthetic
stucco system. The concrete slab incorporates underfloor heating and is finished with 300 mm wide Douglas Fir boards which extend out to the deck in a more durable old growth version of the same timber.
Construction was spread over 2 years, due to an embargo by the Hayling Health Society on any building work during the summer season from April to October, and also due to restrictions in the winter months because of the Kench's status as a nature reserve, SSSI, and home to significant numbers of migrating wildfowl.
The success of the project has been recognised with an RIBA South regional award.
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