Really Well Made visited the inspiring Shingle House by NORD Architects last week. Here's a little write up of what we saw:
NORD is a young Glasgow practice, who in the five years since their inception have created an outstanding set of buildings. They are interested in the tactile qualities of architecture and in finding simple and elegant solutions to complex problem.
The site in Dungeness is challenging, with an unstable shingle bed, extremes of sun, rain and wind and numerous government regulations. Dungeness is Britain´s only desert, a shingle wasteland punctuated by hardy, brightly coloured plants. It is home to a peculiar assortment of buildings and activities, from tiny fishermen´s huts to a giant nuclear power station by way of lighthouses and a miniature steam railway.
NORD´s reference points for the ´Shingle House´ are both the local vernacular style and the traditional building method of wrapping a structure in one continuous material. The external skin of the house is entirely ´cloaked´ with a combination of tarred timber cut shingles and timber boards.
The building has a solid internal core made of polished concrete and comprising the hearth, chimney, stove and bathing rooms. The chimney is the only concrete element seen from outside, and reflects the colour of the surrounding landscape, in contrast to the tarred external walls. Sage-green sea kale, blue bugloss, red poppy, yellow sedum give bursts of seasonal colour in the stony desert landscape of Dungeness, but it is the purple hue in August from the Viper Bugloss that is referenced in the purple heart floor which weaves its way throughout the house.