Beach Hut Competition, Boscombe Architecture Competition, Bournemouth Building, Design, Photo

English Beach Hut Competition : Boscombe Seafront

Boscombe seafront, Bournemouth, Dorset, southern England, UK – design by a:b:i:r architects + Peter Lewis

Brighton architects deliver UK’s first accessible beach huts

Beach Hut Competition, Boscombe, Bournemouth
photo : Richard Rowland

16 Aug 2011

Boscombe Beach Hut, Dorset

New accessible beach huts designed by a:b:i:r architects and Peter Lewis will be unveiled later this month in Boscombe (Bournemouth) as the UK’s first designed specifically for people with disabilities.

‘The Seagull and the Windbreak’, which draws upon traditional seaside imagery of a line drawn seagull and multi coloured stripes of the traditional windbreak, beat off worldwide competition from 173 international entries. Voted for by the public, disabled beach users and a panel of seven expert judges, the buildings combine ergonomics with contemporary design. Funded with a grant from the Commission for Architecture & Built Environment (CABE) the Boscombe beach huts are designed to promote inclusion, health and wellbeing.

Boscombe Beach Hut Boscombe Beach Hut
photographs : Richard Rowland

Facilities include high colour contrast surfaces and flooring to assist the visually impaired, dual height kitchen units with a gas stove and a communal outside area with a fresh-water fountain. An electric charging point for mobility scooters is also available as well as improved accessible toilets, parking and a wooden beach trackway to enable easy access onto the beach. The four huts, designed as two pairs with retractable partition walls for increased flexibility, each accommodate up to four wheelchair users.

a:b:i:r architects, who are developing a reputation for seaside architecture following the award-winning £1million refurbishment of the Brighton ‘Birdcage’ Bandstand, assembled a team which included Eastbourne based contractor Push Studios to deliver the project. The huts were constructed under factory conditions and delivered to site for quick installation.

Overlooking Bournemouth’s award-winning sandy beaches demand is high for the Dorset seaside retreats; each one is already fully booked. Linda Nelson from Bournemouth was quick to rent a hut for the entire season. She said:

“The new beach huts are brilliant. Having been involved in the development and consultation process it is great to be able to reap the benefits. I had trouble getting in and around the old beach huts and was constantly worried about falling over. These new huts take away all those old problems; they are a tremendous asset for the area and a fantastic facility for disabled people.”

The Bournemouth suburb’s visitor numbers have soared following £13.5 million regeneration works and in 2010 Boscombe Pier was crowned Pier of the Year by the National Piers Society. The regeneration scheme has since won a number of national awards for regeneration including the Local Government Chronicle regeneration project of the year award. Andrew Emery, Boscombe Sea Change Project Manager for Bournemouth Borough Council, says the resort’s vision is ambitious but simple:

“Continuing with the theme of regeneration in the vibrant Boscombe area the new huts incorporate high quality design, visual flair and unique function. We believe that they will become iconic symbols of the continuing renaissance of the British seaside resort and will open up our award-winning seafront area to new visitors.”

Boscombe Beach Huts – Building Information

Construction team:
Architect: a:b:i:r architects
Collaborator Designer: Peter Lewis
Structural Engineers: IE Structural Engineers
Design & Build Contractor: Push Studios

Steel framed structure
Trespa board & plywood infill
Plywood fins finished with high performance, marine grade paint
Single ply membrane roof

The beach huts are now open for bookings year round. Contact Boscombe Beach Office on 01202 451773 or visit for more details. Huts can be hired by disabled groups and individuals by the day or week.

a:b:i:r architects

30 Sep 2009

Beach Hut Design Contest

Winning design for Boscombe’s new beach huts for disabled users

Following a highly successful competition attracting 173 original entries from all over the world, a winning design for four iconic new beach huts for disabled users at Boscombe has been selected, subject to Cabinet member approval.

‘The Seagull and the Windbreak’ by Peter Francis Lewis of Brighton based design consultancy AEREA in conjunction with a:b:i:r architects takes two of the most iconic symbols of the British seaside as inspiration for their design. Designer Peter Francis Lewis explains: “The seagull is represented by the canopy roof, each wing covering a pair of semi-detached beach huts. The curved horizontal bands of the exterior take their cue from the classic windbreak.”

Beach Hut Competition Boscombe Beach Hut
pictures from a:b:i:r architects

Each hut will accommodate up to four wheelchair users and include high colour contrast surfaces, tactile floor surfaces to assist the visually impaired, adjustable height kitchen units with a gas stove and a communal outside area that incorporates a fresh water fountain and wash basin.

Speaking about the winning design, Andrew Emery, Boscombe Sea Change Project Manager, said: “The winning team engaged fully with the brief to come up with a hut design which is both iconic and accessible. The new huts will be the first purpose designed accessible beach huts in the UK and will present another positive addition to Boscombe’s regeneration.”

‘The Seagull and the Windbreak’ was unanimously selected by a panel of seven, including disability access and design professionals, following two days of interviews and consultation with disabled beach users.

Mary McManus, Principle Consultant, DOTS Disability, said: “Our involvement has ensured that local disabled people’s needs have been comprehensively considered throughout. We hope that the project will help challenge the assumption that accessibility is only about function and practicalities.”

Faheem Aftab, CABE, added: “The large number and standard of entries to this competition was very high which made the judging a tough task. On behalf of the CABE’s Inclusion By Design Group I should like to congratulate all of the entrants for their hard work and creative concepts.”

It is intended that the completed huts, which will be located to the west of Boscombe Pier, adjacent to Coasters restaurant, will be ready for disabled users to rent next summer.

The £100,000 scheme is being funded by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) as part of the Sea Change culture-led investment scheme.

Boscombe Beach Hut Competition images / information from a:b:i:r architects


Boscombe Beach Hut Competition : Search is on for beach hut designers

Today sees the launch of an exciting competition to design and build innovative new beach huts specifically for disabled beach users in Boscombe.

Professional artists, architects and designers are invited to submit bold and dramatic concepts to reinvent a row of beach huts specifically for disabled beach users.

Boscombe Beach Hut
picture from architects

The new huts will form a key part of Boscombe Sea Change, a regeneration scheme funded by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), which will deliver the UK’s only purpose-designed accessible beach facilities.

Boscombe seafront is a suburb of Bournemouth, one of the UK’s top seaside resorts, located two hours from London on the south coast. Boscombe is currently being transformed from years of urban decline into one of the most innovative seaside regeneration schemes in Europe. Facilities include Europe’s first artificial surf reef and Beach Pods designed by Hemingway Design.

The winning submission will secure a £100,000 contract to detail design and build the four iconic beach huts.

Submission deadline for models: 26th June 2009.

Further arts-based commissions will follow. Keep up to date via

All enquiries by 29th May to [email protected]

Boscombe Beach Hut Competition images / information from Bournemouth Council

Location: Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset, England, UK

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