The Houseboat

Mole Architects, Poole, 2016

 

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This project was a challenge to create a new house on the same site as a 1930s listed boat house 

Rory Gardiner     Download Original

  • This project was a challenge to create a new house on the same site as a 1930s listed boat house    
  • The Houseboat is     
  • The living and dining areas are lofty and open    
  • There is a feeling of being     
  • The timber wall and roof panels are lined with acoustic rubber underneath birch plywood battens    
  • The Houseboat project was planned as a guest house that would also be rentable for holidays    
  • The concrete forms an internal monumental orthogonal ‘proscenium’ arch as a central structural spine for the house    
  • The design developed from an idea of upturned boat hulls sitting on a sea wall    
  • Portal frames in Douglas fir support curved walls, so that the rooms widen as they rise up    
  • Inside is a mixture of rawness and finish    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Section AA    
  • North elevation    
  • South elevation    
  • East elevation    
  • West elevation    
  • Wall and window detail    

A nautically themed guest house in Dorset that complements the developer’s neighbouring home.

The house’s plot is adjacent to a much larger one where the developer, architect Roger Zogolovitch, has a weekend home, The Boat House. The Houseboat project was planned as a guest house that would also be rentable for holidays.

The staged process of the build is most graphically evidenced by the exterior concrete work; its layers of casting using local aggregate left roughly visible. This forms the curving base to the south ‘half’ of the house, lifting it to three storeys in height, against the adjacent pines; while to the north, the house hunkers down into two storeys of cowled roof, in scale with an adjacent row of houses. 

The clear orientation of the house to the site is also evident in its two blunt-fronted end façades, to east and west, meaning the house is a truncated egg shape in plan. The east entrance front is solidly blank on approaching the lawn, edged with a wildflower meadow – just square openings puncturing its larch-boarded skin. To the west, in contrast, there is a full-height glazed timber-framed wall, thresholded by terraces and taking advantage of the views out to the harbour.

The Houseboat is tar-black, sitting on a weathered sea wall. The solid base is made from rough-cast concrete and contains the bedrooms, tightly packed, as in the hold of a ship. The master bedroom sits at entrance level, with other rooms a half-level down. The hallway looks up to the light and to the three-storey concrete arch that holds up the house.  

The section of the building demonstrates the progression from the solidity of the lower floor to the frame structure of the upper floors. A loadbearing, reinforced concrete slab is cast with a kicker and waterstop to take external 200mm external concrete walls. The external walls were cast with 70 per cent GGBS cement replacement, using a phenolic formwork with gel retardant applied to the internal face. When struck, the concrete was power-washed to expose the aggregate.

RIW Cementseal was applied internally and the internal block walls built to create insulated cavity walls. These lower bunk rooms are lined in pale timber with built-in beds.

The upper floor is constructed from prefabricated curved and leaning timber studwork panels, built off a CNC-cut curved plate fixed down to the concrete. The panels span between 200 x 250mm Douglas fir portals, which sit on the concrete lower floor, and lean against the concrete arch that splits the building in two. The timber wall and roof panels are lined with acoustic rubber underneath birch plywood battens, with walnut woodblocks on the living room floors, adhered to a sand/cement screed laid on an acoustic mat. Externally the larch cladding is laid board-on-board, and finished with a black stain and Non-Com fire retardant treatment.

Data

  • Begun: Jul 2013
  • Completed: Jul 2016
  • Floor area: 221m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £745,000
  • Address: Poole Harbour, Poole, BH15 4AJ, United Kingdom

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