The Crows Nest

The Crows Nest

AR Design Studio
United Kingdom
Project Year
Stories By
AR Design Studio

Martin Gardner

The Crows Nest

AR Design Studio as Architects

AR Design Studio was approached by the clients who were looking to extend their holiday home on a cliff top on the South Coast. During the planning process, and following the unprecedented rainfall during the winter of 2014, there was subsidence close to the house and the decision was made to replace it entirely.


AR Design Studio was then tasked with designing a completely new home; the idea of movement and fracturing formed the backbone of the concept. Working closely with engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, an imaginative structural solution was proposed to prevent future failure. A concrete slab was built into the ground, a series of strategically placed dwarf walls were then built on top of it. A floating structural frame was then laid on top of the walls to act as an adjustable raft in case of future movement. Beneath the frame, there are specific places for mechanical jacks to be positioned so that the house can be securely releveled.


The design concept starts as a traditional cabin-like-form that then splits, twists and rotates, resulting in four pods. The outcome is a beautifully haphazard rough-sawn larch clad house that silhouettes against the wooded backdrop. The clearly defined entrance pod, the smallest of the four, guides you through the hallway into the central pod; the main living space comprising of kitchen, dining and living room. The extensive sliding glass draws one into the stunning coastline setting, with uninterrupted views of the English Channel beyond a floating timber deck. The tower pod houses the large open plan master suite, situated on the first floor above a children’s bedroom, utility room and shower room on the ground floor. The right-hand pod, at the opposite end of the house, consists of the guest quarters; a bedroom, two bunk rooms, and a bathroom. This entire section of the house can be closed off when not required.


The result is a playful and calm space for the owners to enjoy weekends with family and friends whilst taking in the spectacular and isolated location in which it sits.


Short-listed for:

Structural Awards 2017

ABB Leaf Awards 2017

The Sunday Times British Homes Awards 2017

Wood Awards 2017

RIBA South West Awards 2017

Shift Awards 2017


United Kingdom Property Awards 2017 - 2018

The American Architecture Prize 2017

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Crow’s Nest

Russwood as Manufacturers

Perched on a cliff top on the south coast of England, the fittingly-named Crow’s Nest is a feat of engineering. Its unusual cabin-like form was built of necessity – the client’s previous holiday home had literally split in half during a landslide.


Commissioned to create a whole new structure, architects AR Design Studio and engineers Eckerlsey O’Callaghan came up with an ambitious solution. Dwarf walls and a floating structural frame sit atop a large concrete slab, whilst mechanical jacks have been positioned to allow for secure relevelling.


The design concept is based on the idea of movement and fracturing; the wooden cabin splitting and twisting to form four pods. Russwood rough sawn larch cladding provided the perfect material for the build, creating a haphazard effect that beautifully echoes the woodland backdrop of the site. Inside, the four pods house an open plan central living area, guest bedroom and children’s bedroom. Large glass sliding doors bring the outside in, adding a sharp modern edge to the warmth of the wood and making the most of the stunning sea views.


“Russwood rough sawn larch cladding provided the exact appearance and feel that we wanted for the project,” said architects AR Design Studio. “The team’s efficiency and eagerness to get the job right is always apparent and they’re a delight to deal with.”

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