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Le Portelet, Torteval, Guernsey

Monday 31 Dec 2012

Modern family home blends in with natural surroundings

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Award Entry

Contemporary beach house garners local attention 

Replacing a dilapidated 1950's bungalow, Le Portelet is a contemporary, low maintenance, sustainable, energy efficient beach house providing a 3-bedroom family home which sits within the wooded escarpment overlooking Portelet Harbour. The project was conceived as three timber blocks nestled into the hillside allowing views of the surrounding landscape from all principle rooms, and privacy from the semi-public road which runs along the back of the site. Due to the highly sensitive nature of the site and prominent position above a popular local beach there was a long and thorough period of pre-planning consultation with locals and the planning department. The architects received harsh criticism from locals during the design process as to the appropriateness of the concept in its setting: the finished building is now very difficult to pick out along the coastline and has received widespread support.

The design of the building was adjusted and refined to protect the many mature tree roots on site. It has been orientated to take full advantage of the sweeping west-coast views, whilst also providing privacy from the road. The building is clad in sustainable English sweet chestnut, varying in widths, which is reminiscent of the local fisherman storage boxes dotted around the island. The use of this type of cladding has enabled the home to rapidly weather, appearing rustic and blending seamlessly into its beach setting. The superstructure of the building was constructed from Eurban laminated timber panels and sits on a concrete base with piled foundations. The Eurban system was chosen for its sustainable credentials and the speed and accuracy it would bring to the build.

Le Portelet is a distinctive addition to the island of Guernsey; it has fulfilled the client brief, responded to its context, and is a truly unique family beach house.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value Undisclosed(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Moo Limited

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