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Moat Cottage

Scheme: Replacement dwelling

Commencement: TBC.

Completion: TBC.


The 428sqm four bedroomed dwelling is set within the sensitive context of the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty along the Bosham estuary. The site also lies within the Bosham Conservation Area, which strives to protect and enhance the village’s traditional character and significant history. Despite the constraints of the site, AR Design Studio’s previous accolades including receiving planning for a ‘Paragraph 55 House’, provided the ideal experience to introduce a contemporary approach to the site.

The clients, long term residents in the area, bought the existing property with the intention of demolishing and replacing it with their dream lifetime home. Though the existing house had fallen into a state of disrepair, the site’s harbour side location and stunning views provided great potential for innovative design. Our proposal, set alongside an architecturally acclaimed house designed by the renowned architect, Michael Manser, will set a contemporary precedent for the area.

The team at AR, with an extensive water front portfolio, worked closely with both Chichester Harbour Conservancy and the planning department to achieve a sensitive design appropriate to its context. The desirable views principally informed the concept of upside-down living; concrete forms house the sleeping spaces and act as a plinth to elevate the living spaces, stretching towards the south to maximise light and views over the harbour.

A carefully selected material palette of board marked concrete and timber were chosen, allowing the proposal to blend into its context. Much like a defensive sea wall, the concrete creates a sense of protection from the elements. The tone, texture and tactility of the material draws inspiration from the nearby Holy Trinity Church, known for the speculated burial of the last Anglo-Saxon King, Harold Godwinson. The timber delicately contrasts this with its soft, natural feel, and will weather and age with the tree lined setting.

The local context of Bosham was studied closely with the aim for the proposal to sit comfortably within and respect the setting of the harbour. A traditional pitched roof vernacular was highlighted and incorporated into the design. This was further manipulated to minimise the pitch and impact of the dwelling and take on a unique yet familiar aesthetic. The contemporary form also creates movement within the design to continue the rhythm of the existing development.

In turn, the design will enhance the architectural distinctiveness of the area, whilst providing a modest, design-conscious home for the clients to enjoy their retirement.