Photo © Nils Petter Dale, Ivar Kvaal

Dune House


Suffolk, England
June 2012

A coastal village is the backdrop for Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects’ Dune House, one of Living Architecture’s modern holiday homes in Suffolk, England.

By Laura Raskin

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Defying the typical angsty design process, the first
conceptual sketch of the Dune House was the one that stuck. At the airport following their visit to the English seaside village of Thorpeness, Einar Jarmund and Håkon Vigsnæs of Oslo-based Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects (Jarmund/Vigsnæs) drew a Surrealist crown floating on top of a Miesian glass box. And so it is.

The house is one of five completed by Living Architecture, a nonprofit organization founded by writer Alain de Botton in 2010 (a sixth, by Peter Zumthor, is in the works). “I think the program is interesting because housing tends to be almost nostalgic, while public architecture is much more modern,” says Vigsnæs. For about $1,270 for four nights, eight or nine people can live and breathe Modern.

Jarmund/Vigsnæs approached the 2,690-square-foot concrete, steel, and wood house as a “mini-hotel” set into the dunes. Private spaces—four bedrooms, each with its own bath—are encased in the top floor’s wild gables, an exaggerated twist on the traditional holiday homes nearby. Public space on the ground floor surrounds a central core containing a staircase and fifth bedroom and bath. “We wanted to keep the social space as open as possible,” says Vigsnæs. Mission accomplished, with 360-degree views.

Design Architect:
Jarmund/Vigsnæs AS Arkitekter MNAL
Hausmannsgate 6
0186 Oslo
+47 22 99 43 43

June 2012
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