What surfer would ever have thought they could find dream waves just 100 or so kilometers from London in the south of England? The Seahive, the new facilities opening in 2025, will make this dream come true through creation of the first 'wave garden' in Kent: a surf resort located next to a luxury spa hotel sleeping 120 and the Lagoon Surf Hub, a wellness center with yoga and fitness areas as well as spaces for theory sessions.
This pioneer project is by the London-based Hollaway Studio, which has shaped a real lagoon by incorporating Wavegarden Cove technology able to generate custom-made surfing waves by using a modular electro-mechanic system that shifts the particles in water to create water movements that can compete with natural ocean counterparts. The Seahive will offer more than 20 types of waves to surf, ranging from 50 centimeters to 2 meters in height and suitable for all ages and skill levels.
The complex is near the sea, but Kent has never met surfers with prime conditions for practising this sport, and has in fact never been famous for surfing. So this project provides the local town and area with the opportunity to change its image, offering the community new prospects and the chance to join the list of the most appealing international destinations for this specific sport.
"Kent is not at all well-known for surfing. In fact, many surfing enthusiasts drive for six or so hours to Cornwall or jump on a plane. The sea's not particularly welcoming for kids or for people who are differently able, mentally or physically. Instead, this space has been designed to welcome everybody. It's a safe space where people can make new friends and explore their own personal growth."
Jim Storey, founder and CEO of The Seahive
The Lagoon Surf Hub will be made up of 15 accommodation units arranged around a wellness center with yoga and fitness areas, plus facilities for therapy involving cold water, pavilions for meditation and a kids' pool. The hub will also offer a clubhouse with a surf academy, a restaurant, a bar, a conference hall and relaxation areas, where lessons and courses will be held, some also specifically for children having treatment for certain medical conditions.
There is also a separate project for a luxury hotel accommodating 120 people, complete with spa and gym. Opting to include a hotel makes up for the lack of reception facilities in the vicinity, and will cater both to visitors interested in the surf resort and those drawn for other reasons.
The Seahive will take shape in a part of the renowned Betteshanger Country Park, an ecosystem that is unusual due to the specific native species living there. Thanks to the in-depth research and studies carried out by the design team, improvements to boost biodiversity will be introduced. It is in fact estimated that once the works are finished, the environment will have increased in variety by 11%, a rate that will compensate for the initial loss of habitat cause by the building works. This makes the project exemplary in terms of consideration for sustainability.
"Right since the project outset we've been aware of how precious this habitat and its species are. We immediately envisaged an eco-friendly approach, with sustainability at the core during every phase. We're also funding staff specifically trained in the eco-protection of the site, because this aspect is not currently supervised. This way, the habitat will be able to survive intact longer, and preserve the best conditions for orchids, lizards, newts, turtle doves and many invertebrate species."
Alex Kalorkoti, Betteshanger Country Park consultant
Location: Nr Deal, Kent, United Kingdom
Architect: Hollaway Studio
Client: Betteshanger Country Park
Rendering courtesy of Hollaway Studio