House of the Year 2016 – Another Dungeness ‘Shack’ Shortlisted

//House of the Year 2016 – Another Dungeness ‘Shack’ Shortlisted

House of the Year 2016 – Another Dungeness ‘Shack’ Shortlisted

Dungeness new build house ‘North VAT’ has been shortlisted for the Channel Four ‘Grand Designs’ RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) ‘House of the Year 2016’. THURSDAYS 9pm to 10pm and repeated at other times!

The following is an article from the RIBA (apologies for not obtaining permission)

ARCHITECT: Rodic Davidson Architects CLIENT: private

AWARDS WON: riba SOUTH EAST award 2016

This house is the latest in a series of new homes at Dungeness. The trend for inhabiting the beach was set by Derek Jarman with his garden at Prospect Cottage, and since then architects have take inspiration from the open, often bleak, beach to design new occasional homes. This house, by Rodic Davidson Architects, is one of the best in the collection.

The architects had previously worked with the clients on the refurbishment of their London home. Here the brief was to create a single living environment, allowing for entertainment, enjoyment and art. This was to be a calm and simple space where everyday activities could co-exist and all aspects of the surrounding landscape could be observed. There was no question about replacing the existing fisherman’s cottage and the form was conceived as a ‘cluster’ of small shed-like structures, referential to the local vernacular of pitched roof huts scattered along the beach front. The plan form of the proposed cluster was derived from the locations of the existing cottage and sheds, minimally adjusted to provide a simple living layout whilst maintaining a low impact on the ground ecology and sustaining the sense of randomness that was found in the original buildings.

The resulting house alludes to these familiar influences and even mimics some recent nearby homes (some of which are award winners themselves), but does so in a manner which is arguably truer to the original precedent of dark stained beach hut or ‘net shop’. The jury was persuaded by the ambiguity of ‘one home’ versus ‘a cluster of sheds’ approach, and won over by the intimate relationship between designers and client which has resulted in a finely-judged balance of high architecture and comfortable beach living.

Despite the temptation to celebrate the panorama of the vast beach and seascape, views are framed judiciously like pictures at seating- and standing-height, providing a sequence of selected connections to the outside. Only in the circulation spaces between the ‘sheds’ is that connection seamless, with frameless glass taking one within millimetres’ distance of the frequently harsh external elements. As the architects suggest, ‘walking in and out of the rooms feels like walking in and out of the landscape’.

Each Dungeness black box has to be measured on its own merits, but this particular synthesis of client aspiration, site character, and thoughtful detailing left this year’s jury feeling very comfortable with its decision.



By |2018-11-02T05:00:20+00:00December 12th, 2016|Local Issues|0 Comments

About the Author:

Born in Ashford a long time ago I have had a lifelong relationship with Dungeness having spent every year here for a fortnights holiday up to the age of 15. In those good old days there was no electricity and hence no radio, no running water and no adequate sewage solutions. Nothing to do other than enjoy the vast expanse of the Ness and all it offered for the young children of that era. Out after breakfast and back before nightfall. There were lakes to swim in. Same lakes to boat on (well large logs). A derelict school in which to play.(Add pic on school roof) Gun emplacements, underground shelters. Sheer bliss. That all ended at 16 when I joined the RAF, finally purchasing a shack – as indeed it was then – in 1971 for the princely sum of £750.00. Only 15 years prior to that we could not afford the £250.00 asking price for what was then known as ‘Windwhistle’, the former Queen Victoria’s Pullman carriage. Still there today but concealed behind painted shiplap. Leaving the mob I travelled, retuning ‘home’ as oft I could, and realistically, only becoming a permanent fixture since 1977. In those days there was a vibrant community here with annual gatherings for the Mayday festival – spit roast and all and open days at the Lifeboat station – with bosuns chairs, zip wires to keep the kids happy. I think Health and Safety put paid to that and other activities, as did the moving away of many locals. The result of which , today there are probably less than 40 persons residing here permanently, in probably less than 20 out of the 80 shacks still here. (I have been told not to use the word ‘shacks’ as now at £3000,00.00 plus they are desirable bungalows in a well sought after locale. So ‘Shacks’ they are! End.

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