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Pobble House

Brief

ASF Bespoke Developments were asked to handle the entire build and fit out for a piece of experimental architecture right in the middle of Dungeness Beach. The plans for Pobble House intended the building to house a high-quality interior suitable for holiday rentals.

Challenges

Dungeness Beach is Britain’s only official desert and a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest. As a location, it comes with a set of strict planning restrictions. But that wasn’t the only obstacle that made the bespoke construction project of Pobble House so ambitious.

The entire site was composed of shingle. Not only would there be no guttering to provide drainage for the build, but ASF would be unable to use cranes during the project. The contemporary structure included heavy steel girders and panels of glazing that would need to be transported to the site. The shingle was playing a key role in the surrounding landscape too, preventing erosion and housing an ecosystem of many rare species. It was vital that the construction project minimised the impact on the shingle beach.

Another consideration was the location’s microclimate. Dungeness Beach was a wild and windswept location, home to driving coastal rain that the building needed to withstand.
The build was also designed to be used as a guest house. The interior fit out needed to be contemporary and minimal with the high-quality finish of luxury accommodation. But, for the heavy traffic of short-stay guests, it was crucial that the interior fit out was lasting and robust.

Results

Our team love finding solutions to the challenges of a build’s location. At ASF, as professional chartered builders, we take on projects from retail fitouts to entire bespoke developments like Pobble House and we’re always excited by a new opportunity to use our craftsmanship.

From the unified floors to the horizontal windows that frame the striking beach views, our team of fit-out experts were as exacting as possible with every inch of the project’s joinery and finishes. Pobble House has gone on to host many guests since its completion, providing a relaxing space within this unique landscape.

Our development team rose the structure’s base above ground level to reduce the impact on the all-important Dungeness shingle. ASF selected Siberian larch cladding for the exterior, a stable and lasting timber which silvers with age. Another key part of the shell and core building was installing rubber waterproofing to protect the structure, while allowing the rain water to go through the cladding, run off the building and filter straight onto the beach with no need for guttering.

All these materials, along with the glazing, cement fibreboard and Corten steel mesh, needed to be carried to the site by hand because of the lack of access for cranes. But, at ASF, we are happy to say we completed the project safely in this logistically challenging location and delivered this outstanding building on schedule.

Pobble House went on to win the 2015 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) award for regional importance and to be featured on Channel 4. We were proud to see presenter Kevin McCloud praise our craftsmanship on national TV, from the cladding to the engineering of the cantilever ASF installed. You can find out more about Pobble House on the Grand Designs: House of the Year episode.

Testimonials

“Elegant details include the treatment of the windows cut into the external boarding and the simple way rainwater drains back into the shingle around the building perimeter” -- RIBA Judges

ASF Fit Out for Pobble House

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