Nov 17, 2021 / Architecture
Thorpeness Beach House by IF_DO

Thorpeness Beach House is a minimal beach house located in Suffolk, United Kingdom, designed by IF_DO. At the end of a dirt road on the northern edge of the village, looking east towards the sunrise over the north sea, and with heath and woodland to the rear, the setting of Thorpeness Beach House is spectacular. That this is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is unquestionable; it feels set apart from the world, and is immediately relaxing. Commissioned by multiple generations of the same family, the house was designed to maximise the potential of its setting. Responding to the site’s orientation, views, and wider context, the design comprises two distinct single-storey blocks—expressed as heavy masonry elements—with a lightweight timber pavilion spanning above. The limited material palette reflects the sandy tones and textures of the area.

Pale buff brickwork at ground floor, oak cladding which will weather to a silvery grey, and brushed aluminum window frames which reflect the colors of the surroundings. The massing of the house creates a clear divide between public and private. The bookend elements at ground floor contain bedrooms and utility spaces, and feature minimal, carefully orchestrated apertures. These maintain privacy for both inhabitants and neighbors, while the large central opening blurs the boundary between inside and out. At first floor, a living room and balcony make the most of the sea views, along with a further series of bedrooms. Internal axes establish strong connections with the woodland to the rear, and across the road to the sea beyond.

Photography by Nick Dearden