Winner of the RIBA Downland Prize 2012
The Lighthouse is a beachfront property on the south coast of England. It is a super insulated, luxury 3 bedroom house sitting in a beautiful water side location enjoying stunning views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight.
The site is enclosed between two neighbouring buildings and a 7m high embankment to the north; of which pavement and street access sits at the top. This access, to the roof level of the property, and the one-directional view over the beach, English Channel and Isle of Wight to the south, has led to an interesting design which takes inspiration from traditional beach pavilions such as the De La Warr in Bexhill a little further along the coast.
The design concept was to maximize the building's width, so every key room enjoys expansive views of the vista. All bathrooms and utility spaces run at the rear of the property, allowing the view to be continuous for all living spaces. The house sits 7 metres below road level with the roof acting as a parking deck for 3 cars. Visually the roof and floor decks are hung from the central concrete core, terminating in large cantilevers that provide shade and open-air shelter to the ground floor.
Balconies and outdoor accommodation are provided by horizontal planes carefully cantilevered from a central access tower which penetrates the roof plane; atop of which sits a frameless glass enclosure providing access and acting as a lighthouse. Lighting within this enclosure is triggered by a barometer providing instantaneous information to the beach and sea beyond.
This illuminated glass cube sits on top of the concrete stair core. At night the lit glass glows to indicate local weather conditions: green when weather is fair and red when atmospheric pressure drops, warning passing yachtsmen of possible stormy conditions.