Platform 5 Architects


The new detached home replaces an outdated bungalow prone to flooding on a promontory in a secluded lagoon in the Norfolk Broads. The project enhances the setting by referencing vernacular forms and materials, while establishing a contemporary counterpoint to more traditional neighbouring houses.

The house is raised above flood levels and is arranged as three low rise bays, whose pitched roofs echo the working boat sheds typically found on the Broads. Each bay has a different volume and is carefully orientated to address different views across the wetland landscape. Untreated timber shingles create a warm and textured appearance to the entrance façade that will weather over time, while blackened shingles clad the roofscape and side walls to express the form as an abstract folded plane. Inside, a simple broken plan arrangement allows for flexible living using timber sliding doors.

Other issues included gaining access close to the water’s edge, elevating the ground floor and taking account of difficult ground conditions. The solution was to found the building on a grid of driven steel piles 10 m into a chalk rock layer. These piles support a grillage of galvanized steel ground beams elevated above the high water mark, creating a raft that projects over the water’s edge. This limited the use of concrete and reduced the time on site required to form the substructure.

Galvanized steel was specified for the subframe as it could be quickly erected whilst ensuring the durability of the structure that will be submerged at high river levels.

Images © Alan Williams, Platform 5 Architects.