Staithe End by Henry Goss


These hyper-realistic computer renderings show a forthcoming concrete and glass house in Christchurch, England, designed by London-based Henry Goss Architects (+ slideshow).

Staithe End by Henry Goss Architects

Henry Goss Architects designed Staithe End for a site adjacent to a listed building and in a conservation area close to Christchurch harbour on England's south coast, while the images were produced by sister company Goss Visualisations.

Staithe End by Henry Goss Architects

The house will sit right up against the listed property and border another building at a slight angle on the other side, so terraces and garden will also be angled to compensate.

Staithe End by Henry Goss Architects

An open plan living, dining and kitchen space will occupy the ground floor, leading out to the series of terraces linked by external staircases.

Staithe End by Henry Goss Architects

Two of the four bedrooms including the master suite will be located in the basement, across a sunken gravel courtyard from an artist's studio topped with a green roof.

Staithe End by Henry Goss Architects

The other two bedrooms will be on the top floor, along with another living space at the back with a balcony overlooking the harbour and nearby Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve.

Staithe End by Henry Goss Architects

This steel-framed upper storey is to be clad with vertical strips of local larch on the street facade and will sit on top of the concrete ground and basement levels. Strips of glazing will separate these floors and the house next door.

Staithe End by Henry Goss Architects

"Pretty interesting job, this one, as the chances of it getting planning [permission] were virtually nil due to the historic environment, listed building, coastal flooding etc," writes architect Henry Goss." Somehow we got it through by a narrow margin at comity committee with full endorsement from the local planning authority".

Construction is due to start later this year and the architects hope to complete the project in Autumn 2014.

More British houses on Dezeen include a contemporary insertion within a ruined twelfth-century castle and a home with a black and white facade designed to mimic tree branches.

See more British houses »
See more architecture and design in England »

The architects sent us this information:

This four bed private house on the banks of Christchurch Harbour represents a real coup and a major precedent for high quality contemporary architecture in the most sensitive of historic environments. Planning approval was gained largely due to the unusually progressive and enlightened planning authority in Christchurch, Dorset who champion all high quality design, contemporary or otherwise.

Staithe End by Henry Goss Architects
Sectional perspective

The dwelling is located in the centre of an important conservation area and adjoined to a listed building, part of which requires demolition to make way for the development. The uncompromising contemporary nature of the design was seen by the LPA as a positive aspect as it seeks to distinguish itself from the listed building thus providing a strong contrast in design that compliments and emphasises the design qualities of each.

Staithe End by Henry Goss Architects
Ground floor plan - click for larger image

Further constraints came in the form of coastal flooding. The solution was to treat the entire site as a tanked excavation including basement, courtyards and terraces which fall below the 4m AOD set by the Environment Agency.

A lightweight steel and glass box floats atop the exposed concrete ground work providing views across the harbour to Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve.

Staithe End by Henry Goss Architects
Long section - click for larger image

Natural light is brought into all parts of the plan at basement, ground and first floor by careful manipulation of levels and openings down the long narrow site. The result is a development which has an ambiguous relationship between inside and out, between built form and nature.

  • Thang

    This is a visualisation, not real!

    • gurns

      It clearly states that in the second paragraph. Thanks for the paraphrasing though.

  • Alvise

    Next limit maxwell render…wow! There’s no need to actually build this.

    • Bogdan

      I'ts Vray!

    • Anon

      Yes, especially since the visual is the only sensory experience that architecture provides us. Come on!

  • Nick Simpson

    Lovely light-filled spaces to the back and the renders are amazing, but why so dead to the front? Why does it have to be so defensive looking? A complete lack of generosity to the street and its neighbours.

  • trom

    Finally an architectural visualisation that reaches the quality that is standard in the CGI industry. That was about time. Need more of this quality.

    • Leiurus

      Actually this level of quality for architectural visualisations have existed for almost a decade. Have a look at the work of Ronen Bekerman, Peter Guthrie, Bertrand Benoit, Alex Roman, just to name the most famous in the industry, but there are hundreds of them.

      But even they mostly showcase personal works, because reaching this level of quality takes longer than the pure production renderings we are used to seeing. The sad thing being that it does not take THAT long, with an extra 30% of time, skilled visualizers could produce this kind of image. Unfortunately, with the frenzied pace of our industry and the fact that clients generally care more about “faster” than “better”, I don’t think these will become the norm in any near future.

      • lawrence

        Leiurus, but software will develop to make the process easier and certain features like the good window reflections will continue to be more easily incorporated and make it more difficult for critics like Tom below to be hypercritical. Thanks for the well thought out response.

    • Tom

      C’mon, they’re good. But not THAT good. If I can pick basic errors at 800px then 6k’s aren’t going to stand-up.They do have a nice feeling & consistency to them though and that’s not regularly achieved.

      • Leiurus

        Totally agree, these renders are far from the quality of the above mentioned artists – my all time favourite being BB, I can’t stop dropping my jaw at each of his works. They are still pretty good for commercial renders though.

  • Macker

    These are SURELY by Peter Guthrie, no?

  • db2013

    @trom – really? Working in the Visualisation Industry myself I think these renders are good but not amazing. There are tons of people doing better or equally as good work out there at the minute. Peter Guthrie, Bertrand Benoit, Alex Roman to name a few – the big giveaway for me is the floating books in the 7th image down.

    Being such a prominent foreground object, I’d expect a bit more attention to detail to at least ground the books with some contact shadows. For me, that’s a huge oversight that stops the renders being as good as you make out.

    • @db2013 – as you say Peter Guthrie as Bertrand Benoit are the very best. Peter is a friend of mine and pretty much taught me everything I know in vis. Love to get better but I am a full time architect and time is tight. Will keep pushing.

  • MZK

    Does better architecture mean better renderings anyway? This 30% more time you spend on the rendering is time you don’t spend on something else. And the goal of an architectural project is to be built, right?

    Who cares about the quality of the renderings once its built? Can you imagine telling somebody “I know your house sucks, but you should have seen the renderings! This projects rocks because of the renderings”?

    Nowadays, architects are spending less and less time detailing their concepts/projetcs (BIG, …), and more and more time making fancy renderings. In my opinion, we don’t need them to focus more on renderings.

    And I will add as an example that Peter Zumthor is spending a crazy amount of time on his projects, with no renderings at all, because he thinks that it’s a lie to the client to show such realistic images, knowing that the actual building will be different.

    • Hayden

      Yes, well judging by the last project on Dezeen of Zumthor’s that I can recall (Alessi bottles) perhaps he could have benefited from seeing those a little earlier…

      People DO care about renderings. Regardless if your client is a corporate financing a £500m tower or an individual having their dream personal residence built. People want to see what their investment will look like. It’s security in a very unsecure industry. Images get buildings built.

      With Zumthor, it’s simply trust. If I was his client I wouldn’t care for what he showed me one way or the other… not everyone has that ability.

    • db2013

      Imagine building a building and not being able to sell it once it’s built. Wow – what a waste of time and money. We’ve had commercial rendering jobs stopped part way through because the building was sold based on our draft renders before any construction had gotten underway.

      Just because it’s a rendering doesn’t mean it’s a lie. In some cases the buildings look exactly the same because they’ve been done from the actual construction documents, however it’s very rare a building is at that stage when renderings are commissioned, hence why they sometimes differ from the original image. Hence the term ‘artist impression’.

      Buyers don’t necessarily understand 2d construction documents, in fact I don’t really and I work with them on a daily basis. You show me five pieces of paper or an image of the finished thing. I know which one would make me invest more than the other.

      Not only that but a lot of the time with major projects, they are shown in the context of the surroundings i.e. photomontages so even the environment is correct. If not cleaned up a little (construction works removed, nicer looking people put in).

      Anyway don’t underestimate the power of the rendering. A bad rendering wouldn’t show the quality of light passing through the space, nor the high spec finish of the materials, nor make it look like an inviting place – hence the desire for realism and high quality renderings.

      • Hayden

        It’s a sad reflection on Dezeen readers who’ve been voted down for just saying it as it is. I guess some people don’t like reality. Wait…

    • Leiurus

      Your comment about the time frame ignores that in most design / architecture studios, renderings are not done by the architects / designers but by visualizers. Therefore this 30% of time are not “taken off” from the project development.

      Yes, as a designer who worked as a visualizer for a couple of years before getting back to design concept and execution, I do sincerely think that better renderings do not necessarily mean better architecture, but they can definitively help.

      Longer time dedicated to rendering does not only mean better composition and lighting, “sexier” pictures…It also mean better materials accuracy, better light simulation, and better modelling that allows details close up, etc…

      In the past 5 years, we had been able to pull a bit of extra time on 2 projects and when we put the rendering next to the completed project picture, our client can’t tell the difference between them, so I don’t accept the “renderings are lies” thing – if they are then no less than photography is.

      Renderings are not, as you point out, necessary but they are tool, a great tool, and as such they should be developed and improved. Limiting them to “a way to sell a project” precisely leads to the situation we are in now: no quality improvement over the past 5 years when technology has progressed a lot, poor consideration of the 3D visualizer profession, flashy renderings with no detailing and poor materials, renders farmed to remote studios who are not involved in the development process.

  • Anyone know what software they used? Frankly I think these are stunning! :)

    • Hayden

      Looks like the standard Max+V-Ray. It doesn’t have enough life for Maxwell. Nor can I see that amount of images being produced in a reasonable time frame for projects such as this. As always, I could be wrong!

    • Andres

      Peter usually works with Sketchup, 3D Max and V-Ray as far as I know.

    • 3ds Max and Vray, same as Guthers. Modeled in sketchup. Render times reduced by not always using Universal settings as is preferable. That and a monster work station.

  • Damien

    There are no people…

  • Ralph Kent

    I think HGA owes a huge debt to Hugh Richardson, who as many of us know was knocking out these sort of images in the early ’90s.

    • CGull

      I agree – Richardson really was a pioneer. Shame he burnt out so young but CGIs loss is spec writings gain and he’s still a hit with the ladies. Guthers + Goss owe that man a huge virtual debt.

      • db2013

        You’re assuming these are done by Guthrie. I’d say they’re not. Doesn’t HGA have an inhouse team? Have look at their website. They even reference that they’ve used his HDRIs.

        • In-house renders, Peter Guthrie skies of course and Hugh Richardson remains a pioneer.

  • Abe

    Good, but not as good as F10 Studios. My practice has used them on several occasions and won’t use anyone else.

  • Lancashire Romeo

    Committee not comity – grammar, the difference between knowing your sh*t and knowing you're sh*t.

    • Dan/Dezeen

      Thanks for pointing out the typo, I've amended it now.


  • Joseph

    Hyper-realistic computer renderings: waste of time, waste of money and not accurate either.

  • Hugh Richardson

    Henry, you’ve done a pretty good job. The ray trace is accurate and the vector array is devastating. My only criticism is the light source, I think this should be bumped past the gammer spectrum by at least couple of coco shunts.

  • Josh

    Gents, Henry is a good architect who has clearly spent a lot of time learning to visualise his designs. They are not by an external render company and are done to explain the project to the client. I bet they were thrilled.

  • And unleash the internet warriors! Guys just appreciate the blog post. These are some nice images. Yes there is better work, but there is always better work.

    • Totally agree, the arguments are quite unnecessary. He’s obviously happy with his work and hopes to get better, and I’m pretty sure the client is as well. Compared to what you see around today, this is very good. This is also a Henry’s Post. Credits been given to Peter and respects to Betrand, why the comparisons and emphasis? Internet warriors as you say my friend. :)

  • Bobby Parker.

    Great stuff. Keep up the good work!