When constructing a home in a remote British landscape with harsh weather, the team at NORD Architecture looked to the area’s design traditions in deciphering how to blend the home with its surroundings while combating nature.
To avoid severe weathering, the ‘Shingle House’ is made of cedar wood treated in black pine tar. This material is commonly used on houses in the area, as it has proven to withstand the elements in exposed areas.
‘Architecturally, the strategy behind the house was to create sense of place in its harsh, apocalyptic, post-nuclear landscape,’ explains Graeme Williamson of NORD. ‘The materiality of the house responds to the shingle beach and its collection of objects and detritus.’
The black exterior reflects the architectural tradition in Dungeness, where most houses are dark in color. The NORD team wanted viewers to question if this design had been there for years or was new.
‘The form of the building is an adapted typology,’ Williamson says. ‘The traditional apex frame with large openings drawn from similar fishermans’ cottages with net lofts above the living spaces.’
Inside, floors are made of purple heart timber, which links the building to its surrounding nature, where purple flowering shrubs cover the landscape on a seasonal basis. Meanwhile, the key structural elements are made of white concrete, while white oiled timber lines the doors and rooms.
Windows link the interior the outside world – the surrounding horizon and unrelenting ‘desert’ landscape. The home is heavily insulated and airtight to minimize the need for heating and excessive environmental impact.