Did you know that the UK has a desert? Unbeknownst to most Britons, tucked away in the south west of England in Kent is the Dungeness National Nature Reserve—the UK's only desert. Its flat and arid landscape is home to a large number of wildlife, especially seabirds, and is a pocket of the UK unlike any other. This entirely unique corner feels worlds away from the rest of Britain, with its dry terrain dominated by gravel and desert plants, only broken up by a few rustic beach shacks and old, abandoned fishing boats. Camouflaged into the landscape is the Pobble House, a unique and quirky home from architect Guy Hollaway, that derives its name from the Kentish word for pebble.
All photos by Charles Hosea.
The new dwelling has been constructed from a number of carefully selected materials. Larch timber has been used for the exterior cladding, which over time will become a pale silver tone, helped along by the strong winds and salty air of its coastal location. Seen here, Corten steel has also been used, which will turn a clay rust colour in time, looking aged and weathered yet still retaining its strength. In time, the home will look more and more like the abandoned beach shacks that scatter the surrounding beaches.
The area is known for its strong fishing community, and the homes of the surrounding area reflect this rich history. The sparse and unique landscape is what draws people to the area, looking for an escape from the outside world. Never could you guess an image such as this is less than a two hour drive from the chaos of central London.
Local building regulations state that any newly built home must replace an existing building, and must be of similar scale and proportion to that of the original. For this reason, the Pobble House has been constructed of three simple forms, drawing from the original structure.
To reduce impact on the existing plant life, the architect has elevated the building on cement pillars. This then allows for a raised deck to frame the southern end of the home; this aspect ensuring maximum use for the outdoor space.
Not only have the materials been carefully chosen, but the orientation of the home has also been carefully considered. The aim was to maximise sunlight for the open plan kitchen, living, and dining area, and for the linear corridor that runs the length of the home, which is perfectly aligned with the nearby lighthouse. In either corner of the open plan living space, glazed full-length glass panels can be pushed back, offering an almost complete panoramic view of the landscape and sea.
No distractions in the form of wall hangings or engaging colours are present, so that the surrounding view will always grab the occupants' attention.
Minimal, Scandinavian-infused furnishings make up the interior, including a modern wood burner for cosy winter nights, warming the family up from the chilling sea breeze the area is known for.
Overall, a unique and intriguing project that respects the existing landscape, while still allowing the family home to have its own character and charm.
Want to see another peculiar and individual project? Then take a look at this tiny riverside house in Japan.