Dune House

Click to enlarge
Dune House

 

1 of 2
Dune House

 

2 of 2

On England's Suffolk coast, in the village of Thorpeness a large black angled roof floats above the dunes.

Designed by Jarmund / Vigsnæs AS Arkitekter MNAL, this is the Dune House, a holiday house for rental. Downstairs, the house is virtually transparent with four glass walls and a concrete core reminiscent of Mies’s Farnsworth House or perhaps Johnson’s Glass House.

But where those buildings were content to perfect the glass box, this house slams down a top-heavy-roof storey that threatens to crush the floor below. Here the heavy angularity of the roof form is reflected in an equally hectic plan of bedrooms and bathrooms in direct contrast to the mannered rectilinearity below.

This upper floor is not for the faint-hearted, nor the inebriated. Faceted walls of blond timber collide and crash and the glimpses through windows to the views outside are enough to make you feel like you are inside a kaleidoscope. This roof might be negatory but it is not nugatory. On first viewing it gives a firm smack to the chops. However, its success lies in how it inverts our expectations of what a house is and how it should connect to the earth.

In New Zealand we perch our houses tentatively on the earth, waiting for permission to validate the connection. In the Northern Hemisphere, houses are rooted in the ground, often anchored by a cellar. This house could care less about connection. Its levitation is not due to the weightlessness of the glass box but the gravity-defying black roof it supports. We have lift-off.


More spaces

Interior narrative

Interior narrative

A Tasmanian home informed by the tactility and comfort of an antique book collection.
Hayes Common

Hayes Common

The Hayes Paddock community in Hamilton has a new relaxed neighbourhood eatery with a distinct local flavour.
Open to view

Open to view

A central courtyard and walls of glass ensure this contemporary, beach-inspired iteration of a villa makes the most of its sloping site.
Portuguese Riviera

Portuguese Riviera

This coastal retreat in Estoril, Portugal uses art, colour and bespoke furniture to create a vibrant haven.

Most read

Interior narrative

Interior narrative

A Tasmanian home informed by the tactility and comfort of an antique book collection.
Invoking warmth: Thomas Hamel

Invoking warmth: Thomas Hamel

Thomas Hamel has been a leading eye in the international design world since his firm Thomas Hamel & Associates was established in 1990 in Sydney. Here he speaks with Justin Foote about his views on creating warm spaces and his upcoming visit to New Zealand.