img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

Looking Glass Lodge, Hastings

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

A woodland retreat intended to protect and share local flora and fauna, Michael Kendrick Architects’ simple but rigorous lodge wins 2024 RIBA South East Small Project of the Year

Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird

2024 RIBA South East Award
2024 RIBA South East Small Project of the Year

Looking Glass Lodge, Hastings
Michael Kendrick Architects for private client

Contract value: £250,000
GIA: 49.5m2
Cost per m2: £5,050

The client’s parents have been planting trees on the property in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for seven decades. This lodge  is intended to allow visitors to enjoy the resultant woodland while helping to pay for its upkeep. Preserving the site’s ecology was key to the brief. The architect used off-site construction to deliver an efficient build programme with minimal disruption. Cantilevered over a slope, the steel and timber structure had to be robust to support the large glazed elements to the front and rear without deflection. The same timber species – Western red cedar – is used for the external cladding and internal lining. This will weather to a grey colour externally, to blend with the landscape while contrasting with the warmer tones that will remain within. The glazing fills the space with natural light, but automatically darkens to limit light pollution when artificial lighting is necessary.

  • Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
    Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
  • Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
    Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
  • Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
    Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
  • Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
    Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
1234

The client’s concept for this retreat was to enhance the area’s ecological biodiversity, protect its wildlife, and encourage guests to understand and appreciate its fauna, flora and history, while supporting and promoting the local economy.

For such a simple project to win an award, it has to be beautifully conceived and well crafted; it does not disappoint on either front. It is simply laid out and compact, with an open-plan lounge/kitchen/dining area, bedroom, shower room and a dressing room with bath. Despite there being no neighbours nearby apart from the wildlife, and although the self-tinting electrochromic glass provides privacy, curtains are included in the bedroom as an added measure for visitors’ comfort. The lounge area has a log-burning stove that uses timber gathered on site to heat the lodge in winter.

The jury was impressed with the simplicity and rigour of the completed project, which is testament to both the design and to the client’s project management during construction, as well as to the local builders’ skills. All construction materials had to be carried the last 100m to the site, and this design constraint seems to have been a stimulus for a more interesting design.

  • Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
    Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
  • Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
    Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
  • Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
    Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
  • Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
    Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
  • Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
    Looking Glass Lodge. Tom Bird
12345

The client praises the architect as ‘open, friendly and professional right from the start of the design process’, and recalls how ‘they helped us to visualise and realise our unusual project, taking into consideration the difficulties in obtaining planning permission, the landscape and difficult access’. At the time of the jury’s visit, the lodge was fully booked for the next 18 months, with most visitors staying for two to three days. Sadly the client’s father did not live to see the lodge completed, but his mother, who has been very supportive of the project, is still planting trees.

See the rest of the RIBA South East winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Structural engineer Momentum

 

Credit: Michael Kendrick Architects
Credit: Michael Kendrick Architects
Credit: Michael Kendrick Architects
Credit: Michael Kendrick Architects
Credit: Michael Kendrick Architects

Latest articles

Webinar: Addressing Onsite Safety using Fall Protection Systems

  1. Products

Webinar: Addressing Onsite Safety using Fall Protection Systems

PiP Design for Sustainability Webinar 2024

  1. Products

PiP Design for Sustainability Webinar 2024