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ABIR’s Shoreham house is clad with pebbles colour-matched to the beach

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Wrapped in beach pebbles and local timber, this four-bedroom house replaces an outdated 1950s bungalow and sits on Shoreham beach

The house, which recently won an RIBA South East Award and was named overall winner of The Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovation Design Awards 2016, is designed to encompass all aspects of its setting, allowing direct access to the beach where the owners and their children have space for windsurfing and swimming, and allowing views across the English Channel.

Typical of beachfront architecture throughout the decades, the house is arranged with the living spaces on the upper level and bedrooms at ground floor level. The material palette was informed by the beach and sea, with pebble-filled gabions on the ground floor forming a strong, grounded and secure mass, where the ‘private’ bedrooms are located. The glazing and timber boarding, which will bleach out in time, reflect the sea, the weather and their constant movement.

The property is situated in a residential area with an eclectic mix of architectural styles, form and materials. The garden to the south has a timber deck and path raised 300mm above a pebbled landscape, with native seaside succulent plants and grasses reminiscent of the renowned Derek Jarman garden at Dungeness. The Brighton and Hove-based practice’s enthusiasm for seaside architecture will again be realised, as its station and visitor centre for Volk’s Railway will complete this summer. 

Oldfort jimstephenson 11

Oldfort jimstephenson 11

Source: Jim Stephenson

Architect’s view

It’s a unique home designed specifically for this family and for this location — the pebbles for the gabions, for instance, were chosen to match the beach. It couldn’t belong anywhere else.

Olli Blair, director, ABIR architects

Project data 

Start on site Autumn 2014
Completion Summer 2015
Gross internal floor area 206m²
Construction cost £320,000
Construction cost per m² £1,553
Architect ABIR architects
Quantity surveyor RLF
Services / energy / M+E and sustainability consultant Delta Green
Structural engineer Ings Engineering
Main contractor Roots Construction
Client Catherine and Adas Nicholson
CAD software used Autocad LT 2016
Annual CO2 emissions 15.84 kg/m²

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