I was lucky enough to hear Alain de Botton speak recently (renaissance thinker, entrepreneur, and author of the brilliant Architecture of Happiness, among other works), which inspired me to explore his ambitious Living Architecture project—"A new social enterprise set up to revolutionize both architecture and UK holiday rentals." The project offers design enthusiasts a chance to rent houses by some of the most innovative architects at work today, including Pritzker-winning Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.
Among the properties for rent (three have been built so far) is NORD Architecture's Shingle House, sited on one of the most poetic landscapes in England, the Dungeness shore on the Kent coastline. NORD, a young Scottish practice, responded to the stark drama of the setting with a Nordic-inspired black timber structure clad in weather-resistant tarred shingles. To see more of the firm's work, go to NORD Architecture (N.B.: former partner Robin Lee has just established an independent London-based practice called Robin Lee Architecture).
Above: The exterior is clad in tarred black shingles, a technique borrowed from boat-building practices.
Above: The dining area opens to the outdoors via folding glass doors.
Above: The interior is clad in simple white wood paneling.
Above: A long horizontal window in the dining area offers a view of the landscape beyond.
Above: The kitchen features polished concrete counters and floors.
Above: Storage pegs line the walls throughout the interior.
Above: A classic Jean Prouve Potence Lamp provides interior illumination.
Above: An airy stairwell leads to upstairs sleeping quarters.
Above: A bath featuring nautical brass plumbing fixtures.
Above: The bedrooms feature a Shaker-like simplicity.
Above: A black tub anchors a bath tucked under slanting eaves.
Above: Photos courtesy of NORD Architecture and the Living Architecture Project.