North Vat, Dungeness
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North Vat replaces an existing fisherman’s cottage in Dungeness’s unique shingle landscape. The house was conceived as a ‘cluster’ of small shed-like structures, referential to the local vernacular of pitched roof huts, scattered along the beach front. At the heart of the scheme were enthusiastic clients seeking to break away from conventional layout and form.
The plan form of the proposed cluster was derived from the locations of the existing sheds and cottage, minimally adjusted to provide a simple living layout whilst maintaining a low impact on the ground ecology and sustaining the sense of randomness that we found in the original buildings.
Each of the three rooms is a separate physical structure linked to the other two by frameless glazing. This allows an uninterrupted flow of internal spaces, without diminishing the original cluster character. Walking in and out of the rooms feels like walking in and out of the landscape.
Windows and roof lights were thought of as ‘paintings’. They have been arranged around moments of pause within the plan to frame particular views and to track the movement of sunlight which transforms the spaces during the day. At night, the black clad building disappears and its presence is revealed by these frames of interior life.
Siniša Rodić commented “The existing sheds and cottage were clad in black timber. We felt that the site’s contribution to the larger scale assembly of black buildings and clusters was important to retain. There is a sense of a bigger project taking place in Dungeness which we felt we were contributing to. Our piece was about the inherent beauty of simple ‘elemental’ forms and how these can create complex spaces and experiences within a cluster.. All architectural clutter was removed in favour of creating an almost abstract form”.
Completed 2015, Private Client
RD Architects, London Office
Photographs by Hélène Binet