Home / News / Niall McLaughlin Architects creates glasshouse

Niall McLaughlin Architects creates glasshouse

Aug 10, 2023Aug 10, 2023

Stirling Prize-winning studio Niall McLaughlin Architects has completed a prefabricated steel-framed home with a pyramidal copper roof overlooking a tidal saltmarsh on the Isle of Wight.

Called Saltmarsh House, the home designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects was one of thirty winners of the Royal Institute of British Architects' National Awards for 2023, and one of the few winning projects outside of London.

Designed to have a high-performance thermal envelope, the house consists of a long living and dining space framed by three smaller chambers – a kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom.

The award-winning home is located in a conservation area to the north-east of the island, in the gardens of an 1860s Grade II listed Victorian house.

"The site is characterised by pasture and rich woodland containing oak, hazel and field maple," the studio told Dezeen. "It overlooks the remnants of an old tidal mill pond with a sandy duver and the harbour beyond."

The house was designed to "float" above the coastal landscape of the site, which is designated as a site of Special Scientific Interest due to its distinct mudflats, marsh, low-water pools and sand dunes.

A winding path through long grasses and fruit trees leads to the house, which is sited at the bottom of a slope at the water's edge. The home is characterised by four pyramidal ridges of deep brown patinated copper which form its roof.

"The distinctive roof form references the repeating pitched roofed glass modules of the early 20th-century glasshouses which once graced the kitchen gardens further up the hill," the studio explained.

Niall McLaughlin Architects arranged the building around a 5x5-metre structural grid. Thin quadripartite tubular steel columns rise up to support the lightweight roof, which oversails the interior spaces on all sides and provides shelter to the elevated timber platform on which the house sits.

Saltmarsh House was constructed using insulated prefabricated cassettes for the roof and floor. Its steel frame was also prefabricated off-site. The three pods housing the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom were built off-site and lifted into place.

The seaward side of the home features three triple-glazed picture windows. Designed with a mechanism involving motorised counterweights, the windows can drop down below floor level and open up the entire southeast facade, allowing for natural airflow across the building.

Inside the house, the building skeleton is expressed, with the steel frame painted a rich gold. The underside of the pyramidal roof is lined with timber and features louvred roof lights to help control solar gain.

The walls and floor are clad in light timber, providing a warm and natural aesthetic. Bespoke shelving units line the walls and frame geometric woven wall hangings. A wood-burning stove sits at the end of the living space on a raised granite platform.

The interior also features integrated timber seating along the southeast facade, which gives panoramic views across the tidal saltmarsh.

"Together with the weathered silver deck, these materials reflect the warm hues and cool tones of the surrounding pasture and marshland," said the studio.

Niall McLaughlin Architects is a London practice founded in 1990.

Recent projects completed by the studio include a museum featuring a red brick tower and vaulted ceilings in Limerick, Ireland, and the Stirling Prize-winning New Library at Magdalene College in Cambridge, UK.

The photography is by Nick Kane.

Project credits:

Architect: Níall McLaughlin ArchitectsStructural engineer: Smith and WallworkM&E engineer: Ritchie + DaffinQuantity surveyor: KSPPlanning and heritage consultant: Montagu EvansLandscape design: Kim WilkieApproved inspector: SocotecMain contractor: MillimetreRoofing: Roles BroderickGlazing: CantifixElectrical: First Avenue Electrical ProjectsMechanical: Clarks MechanicalFire and security: WessexSteel frame protection: Hi-tech Surface Treatment Ltd

Our most popular newsletter, formerly known as Dezeen Weekly. Sent every Thursday and featuring a selection of the best reader comments and most talked-about stories. Plus occasional updates on Dezeen’s services and breaking news.

Sent every Tuesday and containing a selection of the most important news highlights. Plus occasional updates on Dezeen’s services and breaking news.

A daily newsletter containing the latest stories from Dezeen.

Daily updates on the latest design and architecture vacancies advertised on Dezeen Jobs. Plus occasional news.

Weekly updates on the latest design and architecture vacancies advertised on Dezeen Jobs. Plus occasional news.

News about our Dezeen Awards programme, including entry deadlines and announcements. Plus occasional updates.

News from Dezeen Events Guide, a listings guide covering the leading design-related events taking place around the world. Plus occasional updates.

News about our Dezeen Awards China programme, including entry deadlines and announcements. Plus occasional updates.

We will only use your email address to send you the newsletters you have requested. We will never give your details to anyone else without your consent. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email, or by emailing us at [email protected].

For more details, please see our privacy notice.

You will shortly receive a welcome email so please check your inbox.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of every newsletter.

Dezeen Debate features "gorgeous" screen-wrapped house in Kent

Sculptural steel screen invites nature to grow around Woven ...

Timber and hempcrete form patchwork facade of London mews house

Cast concrete volumes animate south London home by Bureau de ...

Weathered stone and larch clad Cotswolds House by Oliver ...

Ström Architects creates "monastic" Case House in Cheltenham

Office S&M uses colour and geometry to create Graphic House ...

Unknown Works brightens Victorian townhouse with dusty pink ...

Visit our comments page | Read ourcomments policy

Project credits:Architect:Structural engineer:M&E engineer:Quantity surveyor:Planning and heritage consultant:Landscape design:Approved inspector:Main contractor: Roofing:Glazing:Electrical:Mechanical:Fire and security:Steel frame protection:Dezeen DebateDezeen AgendaDezeen DailyNew! Dezeen In DepthDezeen JobsDezeen Jobs WeeklyDezeen AwardsDezeen Events GuideDezeen Awards China