Defying the typical angsty design process, the first conceptual sketch of the Dune House was the one that stuck. At the airport following their visit to the English seaside village of Thorpeness, Einar Jarmund and Håkon Vigsnæs of Oslo-based Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects (Jarmund/Vigsnæs) drew a Surrealist crown floating on top of a Miesian glass box. And so it is.

The house is one of five completed by Living Architecture, a nonprofit organization founded by writer Alain de Botton in 2010 (a sixth, by Peter Zumthor, is in the works). “I think the program is interesting because housing tends to be almost nostalgic, while public architecture is much more modern,” says Vigsnæs. For about $1,270 for four nights, eight or nine people can live and breathe Modern.

Jarmund/Vigsn's approached the 2,690-square-foot concrete, steel, and wood house as a “mini-hotel” set into the dunes. Private spaces—four bedrooms, each with its own bath—are encased in the top floor’s wild gables, an exaggerated twist on the traditional holiday homes nearby. Public space on the ground floor surrounds a central core containing a staircase and fifth bedroom and bath. “We wanted to keep the social space as open as possible,” says Vigsnæs. Mission accomplished, with 360-degree views.


Living Architecture LLP
1 Boundary Street

Completion Date: December 2010

Gross square footage: 220 sq. ft.

Total project cost: withheld

Design Architect
Jarmund/Vigsnæs AS Arkitekter MNAL
Hausmannsgate 6
0186 Oslo

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Associate architect(s):
Mole Architects Ltd.
Babylon Bridge, Waterside
Ely, CB7 4AU U.K.
+47 22 99 43 43

Engineers: Jane Wernick Associates

QS:  Boydens Group

M&E: Norfolk Heating and Plumbing

Rainwater recycling: East Green Energy

Landscape: Nascentia Landscapes

Contractor: Willow Builders

Clerk Of Works: Steve Foot, Techs Project Management




First floor & roof construction
Eurban Construction, Cross Laminated Timber walls and roof

First floor & roof Insulation
Kingspan K1100CS panels, supplied and installed by NDM Ltd

Metal roof cladding:
Rimez stainless steel, supplied and installed by NDM Ltd

Ground floor: Fineline Aluminium Windows.
First floor: Velfac (opening Windows) 200 series,
First floor: (fixed Windows) fabricated by Waveny Glass

Interior finishes
Ground floor walls:
Board marked concrete
By Formwork Solutions

First floor walls:
Exposed cross laminated timber. Supplied by Eurban
Coating: Blanchon, Product: wood wax oil

Floor and wall tile:
Ground floor:
Polished Concrete Floor
By Polished Concrete designs

First floor:
Ash timber floor, Whippletree Hardwood Flooring

Special interior finishes unique to this project:
Ceiling systems:
Natural Ash strip, Supplied by Whippletree Hardwood Flooring

Other furniture:
Kitchen work surface: Concrete worksurface
By Concreations

Furniture in conjunction with David Brooke Furniture Consulting

Curtains: Silent Gliss, Product: Wave, Supplied by Nantmore blinds
Bed linen by Peter Reed

Sanitary installations:
Baths: Hoesch Stark 2
Basins: Ceramica Flaminia, Range: Mono Noko
Toilets: Ceramica Flaminia, Range: Mono Noko
Taps: CEA Design
Supplier of above: Liquid designs Ltd

Interior ambient lighting:
Louis Poulsen, Arne Jacobsen Lamps

Dimming System or other lighting controls:
Crabtree Ltd. Product: Platinum light switches

Meinertz fin tube radiators

Wood-burning Stove
Kal-Fire Heat, Product: 100/52HR