RIBA Award

Salt House, Blackwater Estuary, Essex | Alison Brooks Architects

The Salt House harks back to a tradition of the first half of the 20th century: the modernist seaside house. But instead of white render, here all is smooth timber. The timber boarding in fact covers not just walls but also sections of the roof. This experimental beach house is breathtaking in the rigour of its design, detailing and execution. The architecture of apparently random distorted forms is in fact underpinned by a convincing logic and it sits next to its neighbours in a natural and seemingly inevitable way. Despite its unusual geometry the house is not a 'look-at-me' statement and it also fits very comfortably into the surrounding landscape. The budget was surprisingly modest, bearing in mind the sumptuousness of the materials and the consistently high standard of finish. The whole building is raised above ground level to allow flood waters to pass under the timber decks and the first floor seems to float above the site with no visible means of support, so that it touches the landscape lightly. The drama of the seaside landscape is exploited to the full. 

Source: RIBA