The scheme seeks to celebrate the harbour-side setting of the site, whilst at the same time not disrupting the proportions of Strand Street. A "slab block" approach is therefore eschewed in favour of a design which will break down the mass, and give the development the feel of 'a little city of towers surmounted by lanterns'.
The scheme provides a mix of two- and three-bed flats, maisonettes and penthouses, with the plan organised so that all apartments will have sea views and external balconies or significant roof terraces - the penthouses to the uppermost storey of the three harbour-side towers having 270 degree views. Most apartments will have distinctive corner windows and increased ceiling heights to living spaces, giving the development its distinctive collection of lantern appearance (particularly by night), as well as affording spectacular panoramic views from each apartment.
Flexible office accommodation is arranged over the ground, first and second floors. The ground floor offices to Strand Street and the promenade would be predominantly glazed to animate the elevations, with more 'solid' façades to the first floor. Some of the first storey area to the promenade side would accommodate the lower level of the maisonettes, with each accessed via individual 'gangway' type stairs. As well as providing each maisonette with a unique quayside address, embedding the maisonettes would further help animate the frontage and provide a humanising scale to what could otherwise be a bland office façade. Additional office accommodation is provided at second floor level on the Strand Street side of the development in the form of four pavilions. This in turn provides Strand Street with a varying eaves line referencing the stepped form of existing buildings across the street.
An angled public 'pend' (passageway) is strategically located to provide permeability through the site, with views of the marina pier from Strand Street, and access to the main office entrance and one of the three residential cores. The 'pend' would thus be continually active and contribute to the active frontage of both Strand Street and Millennium Promenade. The proposals seek to retain the perimeter wall, entrance and cupola of the former Bath House building on Duke Street. The re-use of the existing entrance provides access to a small office suite and a pair of maisonettes sitting atop the former bathhouse. In doing so, the design would provide a formal front to Duke Street and the end of the development.
The Judging Panel felt that the scheme would add an appropriate contemporary layer to the town's fabric, with its fragmented form generating a rhythm in tune with the urban grain, massing of existing harbour-side developments and would sit comfortably opposite Pears House. The scheme reconnected the harbour to the town, successfully integrated architecturally interesting elements of the Bath House building and provided a sophisticated three-dimensional solution to the requirements of the challenging brief. It presented an ingenious working of the plan and efficient use of the limited site depth, with flexible office space surmounted by a considered arrangement of apartments. It was felt that the development should provide a memorable roofline silhouette against the backdrop of hills surrounding Whitehaven.