Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects
and Mole Architects

| 10 comments

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

The third completed house in Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture series has a faceted black upper storey that sits on top of the glass-walled ground floor like a big hat.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

Located on the seafront in Suffolk, England, the two-storey Dune House by Norwegian Architects Jarmund/Vigsnæs has an open-plan ground floor that is entirely surrounded by clear glass.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

The zigzagging mansard roof encases the building’s first floor and is clad with dark-stained timber that is typical of gabled barn-like buildings in the area.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

Contrasting metallic panels cover the faceted surfaces of the wooden roof, which pitches up and down around four triangular bedrooms and a library.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

Grass-covered dunes surrounding the house protect the ground floor rooms and terraces from strong sea winds.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

British studio Mole Architects collaborated on this project, as they did with Balancing Barn, the first completed house in the series.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

Living Architecture is a series of holiday homes around the UK designed by established and emerging architects – see more about Living Architecture here.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

Photography is by Chris Wright.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

Here's a little more information from Mole Architects:


Dune House

The house is situated in Thorpeness, England on the Suffolk coast, replacing an existing building at the site. The house is a holiday house for rental and is part of Living Architecture.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

To get a planning permission it was important to relate to the existing, typical, British seaside strip of houses. The roofscape, the bedroom floor, somehow plays with the formal presence of these buildings, and also brings into mind a romantic remembrance of holidays at bed- and breakfasts while traveling through the UK.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

The ground floor is contrasting this by its lack of relationship to the architecture of the top floor.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

The living area and the terraces are set into the dunes in order to protect it form the strong winds, and opens equally in all directions to allow for wide views. The corners can be opened by sliding doors; this will emphasize the floating appearance of the top floor.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

Click above for larger image

While the materiality of the ground floor; concrete, glass, aluminum, relates to the masses of the ground, the upper floor is a construction made of solid wood, cladding stained dark as the existing gables and sheds found in the area.

Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

Click above for larger image

Location: Thorpeness, Suffolk, England
Building type: Holiday House
Client: Living Architecture
Size: 250 m2
Schedule: Completed December 2010.
Primary architects: Einar Jarmund, Håkon Vigsnæs, Alessandra Kosberg, Anders Granli.
Collaborating architect: Mole Architects Ltd.

  • Gordon

    Very nice but perhaps 6 WCs, 5 showers and 4 baths is somewhat excessive…?

  • rock

    well built, neatly detailed, nice interiors with the warmth of the timber + great light fittings, du'vit bath, etc. …
    … but the design just doesn't gel. + the word contrast doesn't justify nor explain it:
    what's there is a bit of vernacular, a bit of modern, a bit of context, a bit of landscape reference, a reinterpretation of some of these forementioned influences, some more radical forming of the roof, seemingly arbitrary window locations, all of which sum up to nothing clearly defined.
    it's like a stew, a bit of everything cooked up!
    there's an unresolved tension amongst all the ideas, + hence, unfortunately, an unresolved design: refer the two floor plans, it's as if they're from two different projects.

    despite that, as i said, it appears constructively well detailed + realised.

  • Dan

    nice contrast between super simple groundfloor and complicated upper floor. Is it necessary to live in a tangram puzzle? I don't know. But at least it's not standard..

  • alexandra

    not a fan of the interior design but the structure of the house is wonderful.

  • Craig

    I would like to see the dune grasses continued right up to the house. This would help to blend in that fence and settle the house in the surrounds. Interestingly, the photographer has tried to create this image in the eye height photos, trying to hide the low green grass around the house.

  • Mac

    Nice but not too nice! Upper and lower floorplans seem detached.

  • http://www.lapwortharchitects.com Mike Kalam

    Fantastic location and external views. I am not liking the inerior and the design seems to be a mix of everyhting. I have seen these schemes executed much better.

  • mik

    why is that all four rooms have tubs in the sleeping space?

  • http://www.euroremoval.co.uk EuroRemoval

    Its a very nicely engineered house I like it very elegant look as well from inside…..!!!

  • http://www.PURE-architecture.co.uk Architect in Suffolk

    Beautiful shape and superb design innovation. I agree with the comments in regards to the excess of wash facilities. However, I do like the thought that the individuals living in this house can hop out of bed and into a deep bath. At least there won’t be any queues in the morning!