Living Architecture: Dune House, Thorpeness, Suffolk

Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects
RIBA Award 2012
Residential, New Build, UK excluding London
John Rich, Collection of Jane Wernick Associates

One of eight new build houses by prestigious architects for holiday rental.
Alain de Botton’s aim was to introduce modern architecture to the public by commissioning a set of buildings that can be rented as holiday homes, so that people can appreciate houses designed by excellent architectural practices.
The structure of this house is made up of two distinct elements : the concrete base and the timber roof structure. The base sits directly on the sand and consists of a concrete core, walls around the stair and fireplace, and very slender steel columns at the perimeter, which support a concrete slab at first floor. The concrete walls provide stability and the steel columns prop the slab to provide wide unobstructed views at ground floor. The complex shape of the first floor walls and roof structure is made up of flat planes, which lend themselves to be formed from large panels of solid cross-laminated timber. The panels’ in-plane stiffness inherently provides stability. The panels were factory fabricated to close tolerances and were quick to erect. We carried out a finite element analysis of the first floor slab, in order to check stress distributions and deflections. The analysis allowed us to refine the thickness of the slab to 250mm, which is very slim for a 9m span.