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Lisa Shell Architects unwraps cork-clad coastal home

Redshank by Lisa Shell Architects

East London-based Lisa Shell Architects has completed this house sitting on stilts above a salt marsh on the Essex coast


The 48m² one-bedroom home was built in collaboration with artist Marcus Taylor and was inspired by the Maunsell Sea Forts which are visible from the house.

The CLT building, which replaces a timber-framed building on the site, is supported on a steel framework and wrapped in cork.

Its three steel supports that lift it off the ground mean its impact on the nature reserve beneath is reduced.

Taylor, said: ‘I was interested in achieving a finished surface out of the materials that form both the structure and the weathering skin. The idea of using cork started as a joke due to its buoyancy - the site floods at high tide - but the more we explored its characteristics, the more appropriate it became.’ 

Shell, added: ‘Taylor gave us a licence to innovate with materials and construction, which added a further dimension to our primary interest in harnessing the unique experience of inhabiting the Essex salt marsh’. 

Redshank by Lisa Shell Architects

Redshank by Lisa Shell Architects


Lisa Shell Architects Plan

Lisa Shell Architects Plan

Project data

Location confidential
Type of project private house
Client Marcus Taylor
Architect Lisa Shell Architects
Planning consultant Phillips Planning
Structural engineer Elliot Wood
Main contractor Macmillan and Wright
Funding private
Appointment established client
Tender date April 2014
Start on site date June 2014
Completion date May 2016
Gross internal floor area 48m²
Form of contract and/or procurement JCT SBC without quantities
Total cost confidential

Redshank by Lisa Shell Architects

Redshank by Lisa Shell Architects


Readers' comments (2)

  • Isn't the cork vulnerable to bird attack?

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  • We dont know. As of yet, no interest. Birds dont generally 'attack' bark, unless there are grubs to be found. In any case, with 180mm to get through we can probably sacrifice some granules! There are some very small insect eggs on the surface - we are eagerly awaiting the birth.

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