Dezeen Magazine

Holiday home on Terschelling

Ten houses that are set amid coastal sand dunes

A faceted seafront dwelling in England and a residence on the sandy shores of Argentina feature in this roundup of houses that are surrounded by coastal dune landscapes.

Crystal-like dune house in Terschelling
Photo is by Filip Dujardin

Dune House, the Netherlands, by Marc Koehler Architects

Sunken into a sandy plot on the coast of Terschelling island, this cabin has a crystalline form designed to deflect strong sea breezes around it.

It was clad in strips of silvering red cedar, chosen to complement the textures and colours of the dune landscape.

Find out more about Dune House ›

Faceted exterior of Dune House in Suffolk
Photo is by Chris Wright

Dune House, UK, by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects

A faceted roof clad with dark-stained timber crowns Dune House, which Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and Mole Architects designed on the seafront in Suffolk.

Created as part of Alain de Botton's Living Architecture series, it has an open-plan ground floor surrounded entirely by glass, framing views out to the surrounding grass-covered dunes.

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House with canvas louvres

Amagansett Dunes House, USA, by Bates Masi Architects

This house was positioned on sand dunes on Long Island's south shore and oriented toward the prevailing winds to help keep it cool.

Paying homage to its beachside setting, the western facade was shielded by louvres that are made from strips of sailcloth. These louvres allow breezes to pass through while blocking direct sunlight.

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Concrete exterior of House in the Dune, Argentina
Photo is by Daniela Mac Adden

House in the Dune, Argentina, by Luciano Kruk

Tactile board-marked concrete encloses this holiday home, which Luciano Kruk designed to fit the uneven topography of a sand dune in a coastal town near Buenos Aires.

Social spaces occupy most of the building's floor plan and are bracketed by large windows that frame the coastal setting and pine trees at the rear of the residence.

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Pink coastal house
Photo is by Richard Chivers

Seabreeze, UK, by RX Architects

Seabreeze is a pink-coloured house located on Camber Sands beach in England. It was designed by RX Architects to withstand high winds, moving sand and salt air at the site.

To prevent the collection of sand, the windows are flush-mounted into the exterior that has been sealed with a microfibre concrete coloured with pink pigment.

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Dune House with thatched roof
Photo is by Juozas Kamenskas

Dune House, Latvia, by Archispektras

Archispektras topped this dwelling with a large, angular thatched roof that was designed to echo surrounding grassy dune landscape of Latvia's Pape Nature Reserve.

The roof was broken up by a band of glazing that wraps around the dwelling, providing the owners with views out towards the sea from the home's pale pine wood interior.

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Concrete exterior of Casa MR
Photo is by Daniela Mac Adden

Casa MR, Argentina, by Luciano Kruk

A peak of a sand dune provides support for the upper storey of Casa MR, a contemporary holiday home located on a stretch of the Costa Esmeralda coastline.

The dwelling is divided into two intersecting cuboids that are unified by their concrete and timber-clad exteriors designed by Luciano Kruk to retain the natural slope of the sandy site.

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Black timber exterior of Villa Meijendel
Photo is by Christian van der Kooy

Villa Meijendel, the Netherlands, by VVKH Architecten

Villa Meijendel is a boxy geometric house created by VVKH Architecten for a sandy site in a Dutch nature reserve, set between a forest and a valley of dunes.

The stepped roofline was intended to mirror the irregular shapes of the dunes, helping the building to establish a dialogue with its surroundings.

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Holiday home on Terschelling
Photo is by MWA Hart Nibbrig

House in the Dunes, the Netherlands, by Unknown Architects

Unknown Architects disguised this house in Terschelling as a single-storey cabin by sinking it into the surrounding grass-covered dunes.

The dwelling is topped by a steep, asymmetric pitched roof that was clad with Accoya wood planks. As they slowly turn grey over time, this will help the house blend in with the landscape.

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House of Shifting Sands in Cape Cod
Photo is by Jane Messinger

House of Shifting Sands, USA, by Ruhl Walker Architects

Ruhl Walker Architects raised the House of Shifting Sands above this sandy waterfront site in Cape Cod to reduce the impact on its ecosystem.

The home comprises a series of overlapping, cantilevered volumes that are orientated to maximise views of the coast and surrounded by drought-resistant plants.

Find out more about House of Shifting Sands ›