Beach House Cafe

Mudeford Spit in Dorset is known for both its natural beauty and exclusive privately-owned beach huts with views into Christchurch bay on one side and the English Channel on the other. It is located near Sandbanks, Poole, which hosts some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Building in this tranquil beauty spot has proved to be a logistical and political challenge that we have grasped enthusiastically.

Project & Environmental Data

Project Info

  • Location: Mudeford Spit, Dorset
  • Designation: SSSI, Flood Zone 3b
  • Collaborators: BCP (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council)
  • Image Credit: Studio FIP

Environmental Data

  • Energy Efficiency
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Insulation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Thermal Mass
    1 2 3
  • Airtightness
    1 2
  • Solar PV
    1 2 3 4 5 6
  • Embodied Carbon
    1 2
  • Heating/Hot Water
    Electric Gas Ground Source Air Source
  • Solar Thermal
    Yes No
  • Rain Water Harvest
    Yes No
  • Ventilation
    MVHR Natural
  • Energy Storage
    Yes No

When the previous Beach House Café burnt down in 2018, the site’s owners, Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, hosted an invited competition for the replacement. PAD studio’s ideas of echoing the rhythmic but undulating pattern of the beach hut roofscape in the new design struck a chord with BCP.

PAD studio has worked tirelessly with its client, navigating the complex issues of how to safely build in a flood zone during the tourist off-season, how to improve and enhance the biodiversity and ecology of such a special place, how to improve accessibility for visitors and residents, how to ensure the new building is more resilient to fire and has improved acoustic properties, and critically to our ethos – how to build sustainably and with minimal carbon impact within a challenging budget.

"Working with PAD studio has been a fantastic experience. We’ve found them to be extremely hard working and totally committed to our projects."

. . . Amy Habgood, BCP Council . . .

The low-energy building will be constructed using flood resilient measures, ensuring that in extreme storms, no lasting damage will be sustained. Clad in recycled timber sourced from coastal defences, the new building will display its energy credentials live to passers-by on information screens. The building has attracted much media coverage, sadly not all positive as we would expect from a project in such a prominent and sensitive public location. However, our tenacity and determination to work through all the potential complexities has won much support from the various stakeholders and decision makers who are fundamental in the process of making this building a reality.

"They have repeatedly gone above and beyond to not only meet our client requirements but to also use their extensive knowledge and exceptional design talents to exceed our expectations and open our eyes to solutions we could never have imagined. As an added bonus, the team are a real pleasure to deal - we look forward to all our project meetings with them!"

. . . Amy Habgood, BCP Council . . .

At PAD studio we are respectful of people and environments, celebrating history and tradition, diversity and uniqueness. We are mindful of our responsibility to nature and how we impact this on both the sites we work with but also the wider environment. Sustainability is complex and we believe it should be considered from the outset and throughout the building’s lifecycle. We do this automatically in the way we approach design and have a wealth of experience in building award-winning sustainable and beautiful buildings.