Forming the striking architectural backdrop for our recent 'Sailor Made' fashion story (see W*192), Pobble House stands alone within Dungeness' sparse headland. This new home designed by Guy Holloway Architects appears hovering in the eerie landscape, a worthy addition to an area already famed for its unique architecture.
The Dungeness Estate is special. As Britain's only desert - its shingle is protected - it is very sparsely built, punctured only by the small huts of the historical local fishing community, the Dungeness nuclear power station and a pair of lighthouses. Mediating landscape and landmarks, Pobble House was designed as a unique retreat from the outside world.
As dictated by local planning policy, the new building (built on the site of an older structure) takes its cue in scale and proportion from its predecessor. Three simple forms - clad in larch, Corten steel, and cement respectively - define the house's volumes and add character, skewered by a long corridor that organises the space inside. As the architects explain, this axis is 'aligned perfectly' with the nearby lighthouse, leading from the living space to the bedrooms while funnelling views out over the expansive nature.
Once inside, the visitor's gaze is always drawn to the outdoors. The large open-plan kitchen and living space features a glazed sliding door that fully disappears in concealed wall pockets when open. A long horizontal window frames the power station. Discreet bespoke furniture lines the interior, carefully designed to avoid detracting attention from the views and enabling the home to 'open up to the landscape'.
Consideration for the surroundings was equally important to Hollaway's design. This sensibility stems from the client's original brief, which outlined their respect for the local community. At the same time, the family wanted a home to last generations, and therefore a robust structure. This includes a timber-frame construction that is sealed by rubber waterproofing and PV roof panels on the flat roof (gas is not available in the area).
Despite its relatively small budget, Pobble House boasts a strong design, fit for its purpose and surroundings. It is also available to rent, offering space for up to ten guests. Respectful and modest, it's poised to age gracefully, blending effortlessly into the colours of the Dungeness landscape as it does.