The Dune House
Location: Thorpeness, Suffolk
A building with a complex roofscape geometry, that references local seaside buildings, while remaining distinctively contemporary.
The Dune House is a stunning reinvention and reinterpretation of the English seaside dwelling.
Designed by a Norwegian practice celebrated for their creative responses to the highly seasonal Nordic landscape, The Dune House will be JVA’s first UK building. It is located on the southern edge of the village of Thorpeness, on the Suffolk coast.
“For us the most interesting tension was to create something that would not only fit in with the local landscape and ‘society’, but would also be refreshingly new”, says director Hakon Vigsnaes. “The gabled roof is particularly ‘English’ – not something you would find in Norway – so we wanted to make a feature of that.” The roof, clad in a lightly tinted orange steel alloy, reflects the changing colours of the sea and sky and the panoramic windows on the ground floor offer views of the sea, whilst giving the sense of the house being nestled in the dunes. JVA wanted to create more than just a space for sleeping upstairs, so each of the four double bedrooms has a bathtub in it, with windows carefully positioned so that one can lie in warm water and take in views of the North Sea and surrounding meadows. Separate shower and toilet facilities are attached to each room and there is a small library and roof terrace on this floor.
The ground floor, with its living area, kitchen, terrace and further en-suite bedroom, is at once open to the landscape and protect from it by being set into the dunes. Sliding doors can be opened on the ground floor to give 360 degree views, a move which emphasizes the floating appearance of the upper floor.
While the materials of the ground floor (concrete, glass and aluminium) root the building with a reassuring sense of heaviness, the upper floor (made of timber planks) gives a nautical feel that echoes the gables and seaside huts of the area.
Dune House – Project Team
– Architect: Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects
– Executive Architect: Mole Architects
– Contractor: Willow Builders
– Structural Engineer: Jane Wernick Associates
– Engineer (Timber superstructure) Eurban
– Quantity Surveyors: Boyden Group LLP
– Clerk of Works: Steve Foot, Techs Project Management
Living Architecture partners at The Dune House
– Kitchen appliances provided by Miele UK
– Kitchen equipment provided by David Mellor Design
– Bed linen by Peter Reed luxury linen
JVA, established in 1996, is a young Norwegian practice responsible for building a series of highly accomplished, modestly-priced houses in Oslo and its outskirts. Past projects include working with the Norwegian Ministry of Defence in 2006, Galleri Trafo (Norway) in 2006 and the Oslo School of Architecture in 2002.
Living Architecture has commissioned other houses by Peter Zumthor, NORD, MVRDV and Hopkins Architects.