Dune house 1
Dune house 2

dune house, SUFFOLK, 2010

Mole Architects collaborated with Norwegian practice Jarmund Vigsnaes Architects on this holiday home commissioned by Alain de Boton’s Living Architecture. The Dune House is situated on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, overlooking the sea on the Suffolk coast. A complicated roof geometry draws inspiration from the seaside strip of houses with an eclectic range of gables and dormer windows. It’s a romantic house, designed to be both a refuge against the expanse of the North Sea, and a beach-side house open to the sandy dunes. Downstairs all the ‘kit’ is contained in the centre of the house, allowing the rest to be open plan, with areas defined for cooking, eating, and living.  Accessed from a secret staircase, the all-wooden bedroom floor has four bedrooms, each under its own pitched roof.

The design and construction of such a striking house takes perseverance. The design itself needed a great deal of work to ensure that all the geometries would work, and that the various spaces would feel right. Once designed obtaining planning isn’t as easy as a more conventional house, and much work was put into the planning documentation to demonstrate that the house wouldn’t detract from the area, and that the scale and material were appropriate. Structurally the house isn’t normal either, with a reinforced cantilevered concrete slab supporting most of the upper floor loads. Mole worked closely with consultants and contractors, all of whom were instrumental in making the house a success: Jane Wernick Engineers, Eurban CLT sub-contractors, and Willow Builders.

The House is available to rent through: https://www.living-architecture.co.uk/the-houses/dune-house/overview/
photography: Chris Wright, Ivar Kwaal, Nils Petter Dale

Dune house 5
Dune house 3
Dune house 6


  • RIBA Award 2012
  • Shortlisted, RIBA Manser Medal 2011
Dune house 7
Dune house 8
Dune house 9

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