An irregular origami-like house by Norway’s Jarmund Vigsnæs Architects for Living Architecture, embracing the elements but full of seductively cosy features as well
Living Architecture’s ethos is simple: ask some of the most innovative architects working today to design a house, then rent it out to holidaymakers so that everyone gets a chance to immerse themselves in great contemporary architecture.
Dune House, just south of Thorpeness on the Suffolk coast, is by Norway’s Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects, and was among the first of this small stable of exceptional buildings to be finished. It’s distinguished by its irregular, origami-like roof, which seems to float above its all-glass ground floor: the big gables echo the local building style, but on the other hand, it looks nothing like its neighbours.
It’s a contrast between public and private in a lot of ways. The big open ground floor is visually connected to the dunes and the sea outside (you can slide back the doors on the corner of the building and let the sea air rush in). But the eaves, where the bedrooms are, are much more cosy, with windows of different sizes and at different heights, through which you merely glimpse the outside. Bedrooms have baths in them (a bit of a pet hate for me, but that’s my prudish problem) – so you can have a soak, but still see out of one of the lower-level windows.
Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects have brought to the building a Scandinavian at-oneness with nature, not just with the huge amounts of glazing downstairs, but in the blonde wood-clad bedrooms and the use of timber, leather and stone for the furniture and fittings. On the one hand this makes it incredibly restful, but one the other, the dipping eaves, odd angles and irregular windows mean your eye always has something interesting to follow.
Nearby: The thoroughly gentrified seaside town of Aldeburgh; Snape Maltings, a multi-purpose venue that includes home and antique shops, a café and concert hall; the spooky but fascinating former military site of Orford Ness, now a National Trust nature reserve
Photos via Living Architecture