Now fully booked until September 2013, the beautiful Dune House in Thorpeness,Suffolk, has proved a hit with holidaymakers and RIBA judges alike after scooping a ‘RIBA Regional Client of the Year Award’ at the 2012 awards.
Describing the project as ‘conceptually bold’ and an ‘exploration in geometry’, RIBA judges praised the building’s play on local gables and sheds and its achievement of a 20% improvement in energy efficiency over current building regulations.
The five-bedroom house is nestled among rolling dunes in an idyllic spot at the very edge of the sea. Constructed on the former site of a chalet bungalow – parts of which dated back to the early 1900s – the two-storey house covers approximately 200 sq metres and sleeps up to nine people.
The first floor cross-laminated timber frame is built off a concrete floor slab that is supported by an exposed structural concrete core. The perimeter of the first floor is predominantly glazed, whilst below the glazing the building is sunk into the dunes.
The ground floor is predominantly open-plan, with the central structural core housing the daybed, en-suite shower room and cloak room. On the first floor there are four spacious bedrooms, each of which has an en-suite shower room. Visitors may walk out from the living room directly onto the beach, whilst the house also offers extraordinary panoramic views over the sea from the bedrooms, bathrooms and terraces on the upper floor.
Norwegian based Jarmund Vigsnaes Architects (JVA) designed Dune House in partnership with Mole Architects in theUK. Main contractor for the project was Willow Builders, who have won two Manser Medals for their work on the Holly Barn and Hunsett Mill projects.
The site was purchased by Living Architecture – a social enterprise set up to revolutionise both architecture and holiday rentals – in the winter of 2007, and the project was completed in 2010.
Dune House was one of four projects in the East of England to win a RIBA Award, with Hertfordshire’sRoyalVeterinaryCollegestudent village,Cambridge’s Sainsbury Laboratory andBrentwoodSchool’s sixth form centre and assembly hall also winning a prestigious award.
Mole Architects has previously won numerous accolades for its Balancing Barn project in Thorington,Suffolk(designed in collaboration with MVRDV), whilst it also won a RIBA East Spirit of Ingenuity Award for another project inCambridge. Commenting on their win for Dune House, Director of Mole Architects, Meredith Bowles, said:
“The award is excellent news. The building is designed to be slightly provocative and draw inspiration from its surroundings. Both Dune House and the Balancing Barn are quite arresting buildings.”