Silecroft Beach Cafe

New Building
Copeland Borough Council
Silecroft, Cumbria

A wayfinding point, a destination, a rest stop: our café for Silecroft Beach is inspired by the trig point on nearby Black Combe Fell.

Project details

In 1935, the Ordinance Survey embarked upon an epic project: the Re-triangulation of Great Britain. Engineers trekked up the peaks of the UK to install concrete pillars in positions where two other points were visible. By measuring triangles between the points the country could be accurately mapped.

The triangulation – or trig – point on the top of Cumbria’s Black Combe was one of the first used to map the Lake District. Today that trig point has a new function: to walkers it’s a waymarker or a destination. It’s the peak: the picnic spot, the high point of the walk.

Our design for the Silecroft Beach Café is a celebration of the trig point. In form, it references the trig’s familiar shape, which will be recognised by approaching walkers. In function, it’s a destination or a place to pause. For many visitors it will be the starting and end (and high) point of their day’s activities: the spot that not only marks their achievement, but rewards them with a well deserved slice of cake.

The ‘trig’ structure marks the entrance. Its form is echoed on the opposite side in a dining area which opens up views out to sea. The roof is a heavy and deliberately deep canopy which oversails the café walls, sheltering the terrace and entrances, and creating protected spaces around the building which can be used beyond opening hours.

Like every trig point, the building sits on a plinth. Here, striped bonded gravel creates hard landscaping around the café, a terrace area, and step-free access to the beach. The interior of the dining area is slightly lowered, and the building partly earth sheltered: the height of the dining tables set at external floor level offers a continuous line of sight from the windows down the bank to the beach.

The building is arranged to create sheltered external spaces and optimise views to sea. A solid form ready to withstand the wildest Cumbrian weather, the café is designed to make the most of every season.

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